The CLA as a sculpture: the work of Japanese artist Yasuaki Onishi.

Shaping air: the CLA as a sculpture.

Japanese artist Yasuaki Onishi stages the CLA as a floating work of art.

Fuel consumption combined: 7.1-4.2 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 165-109 g/km.*

Floating sculpture.

Suspended in space like a ghost, light as a feather and pulsating in the slightest breeze, illuminated by the ambient light that catches it. The iconic silhouette of the CLA hangs on a silken tether, both weightless and colossal. A hull of air, a skin of light.

Yasuaki Onishi steps back and slowly lowers the glue gun. He examines his creation with a keen eye and pensively runs his hand through his hair. Classical music in the background sets the tone, the bubbling of the electric kettle joins in and announces a break for green tea.

Model and image: the sculpture follows the form of the CLA.

A new challenge.

Air as a construct, nothingness as art – an abstract vision to which Japanese artist Yasuaki Onishi has dedicated himself. From the sheerest film and adhesive threads he creates floating works of art whose appearance breaks with how we usually perceive things: they are suspended in mid-air, at the same time weightless and yet monumental. In the past Onishi has only created abstract landscapes in this fashion – now he has turned to a new challenge. The flowing lines of the CLA are to be captured as a feather-light work of art. In recent years the Japanese artist from Osaka has made a name for himself in the art scene with “Reverse of Volume”, his floating works of art.

The work of art requires absolute precision craftsmanship.

The work of art requires absolute precision craftsmanship.

Already highly prominent back home, his ghostly creations are also on display in renowned galleries and museums in the US and Europe.

The nylon threads hold the glue and consequently keep the work of art suspended in mid-air.

The nylon threads hold the glue and consequently keep the work of art suspended in mid-air.

A work of art created from glue and polyethylene.

The artist lets glue drop over nylon threads stretched across the ceiling in several parallel rows. These create the sheerest threads that connect the structure on the ceiling with the film covering an object two metres below. Myriads of droplets trickle down as if by magic and bond to the weightless material.

Once the object that gives the film its shape is removed, the silhouette remains – as an element suspended in mid-air. The challenge is: the more complex the outline of the object under the film to be modelled is, the more adhesive threads are required.

The CLA as a sculpture.

“Until now my works of art have been reminiscent of mountains, but this time I wanted to use a more materialistic object as the basis for my sculpture. Normally I stack cardboard boxes and cover them with a polyethylene film that is suspended in mid-air on sheer threads. Afterwards the boxes are removed and the film stays where it was,” the artist explains – staring pensively into his bowl of tea as he does so. “The CLA has something organic about it, a natural, aerodynamic shape that allows it to offer the air little resistance.

The aerodynamic shape of the CLA challenged the Japanese artist.

The aerodynamic shape of the CLA challenged the Japanese artist.

I think the parallels to my art can definitely be found here.” Overriding the air's resistance, defying the forces of nature – an ambitious goal that constitutes the common denominator of the artist and the CLA and that fuses them into an astonishing phenomenon.

“I feel the pride”.

Onishi spends about five days working on this project, which requires a precise sense of proportion and a great love of detail. Again and again he studies the shape of the vehicle, gently runs his hand over the film and commits every small elevation in the silhouette of the CLA to memory. Each detail requires the artist to allow a different amount of shiny glue to trickle down.

This precision work on the vehicle elicits a special emotion in Onishi: “I have noticed how simple and beautiful the shape of the vehicle is. I just wanted to capture this shape in a work of art.” There is awe in his voice. “I feel the pride of the manufacturer, built up over long years of tradition.” Onishi nods and examines his creation. Then he puts down his bowl of tea and reaches once more for the glue gun.

The CLA in a

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