Retro-futuristic photography: Air Drive by Marion Renaud.

Air drive.

The photographer Renaud Marion makes classic cars fly.

Childhood dreams for the photo album.

The human race used to have big expectations of the year 2000: world peace, human settlement on the ocean floor, family holidays on Mars. And, of course: flying cars. When the turn of the millennium was more than a decade old and cars were still screeching on tyres on the streets, the Parisian photographer Renaud Marion decided to put his childhood dreams into reality – at least for the photo album.

Inspired by 1980s science fiction films and Moebius, the legendary comic artist, in 2013 he created the “Air Drive” series: flying classic cars bringing the futuristic wishes of the past back to the present.

Renaud Marion has transformed his childhood dreams into a photo album.

Complementary contrasts.

Renaud Marion’s visual language pays meticulous attention to detail and at the same time is very clear – almost geometrical, in fact. In his world, life seems truly composed. His sources of inspiration, however, are marked by an extraordinary chaos: the successful South African science fiction film “District 9” was one of his favourite films in recent years.

What he found interesting was the contrast between its documentary style and the story of the extra-terrestrials. It is complementary contrasts like that which make his own work so fascinating.

For the artist, cars symbolise many things: affluence, technology, zeitgeist, dreams and passion.
Renaud Marion.

A neophile nostalgic.

Would you say that you personally were more a nostalgic or a neophile?

I am a bit of both. I like the idea of being able to put oneself into the future without having to sever the links to the past. And are photographs themselves not a constant reminder of the past? If you include the future with it, then it becomes a way of squaring the circle – but perhaps it also expresses an impalpable present.

Why did you only use classic cars for your project? Could you imagine doing a series like that with contemporary models?

I tried out lots of different vehicles. But it was the old cars that gave the whole thing a retro-futuristic dimension. And vintage – making new from old – is a topic very much in keeping with the times.


Only floating is more fun.

You once said that “Air Drive” should remind us of the need to apply new technologies. How would you imagine cars if someone were to ask you that question in 2014?

I would really like to design the cars of the future! Since the automobile was invented, we have had the internal combustion engine on four wheels. Comfort, accessories: all those things have developed.

Now it is time to find another source of energy. A sort of autonomous generator, a new technology. And do we really need these wheels? It would be so wonderful to float 50 cm above the ground!

Mr Renaud, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

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