First published:Spring 2006
Named after the street on which it is sited, the Heidelberg Project is first and foremost a dynamic bricolage of the city’s abandoned objects. These are collected, painted in a myriad of colours and subsequently fixed to trees, nailed to houses, sited in gardens, or piled high in heaps along the roadside. Cars and car parts, dolls, plastic toys, soft toys, a boat, shoes, tyres, road signs and vacuum cleaners all make their way into this growing, evolving project. Inclusion of these objects discarded by the city’s inhabitants results in an environment that is both dependent on and reflective of the city – a city which despite its troubles is still inextricably linked to the car. Thus the visitor can see a fence decorated with hub-caps, a car painted up with the words ‘Art Rules’, another decorated with painted circles, and a series of car bonnets adorned with stylised, brightly painted faces. In short, the car is omnipresent, its influence felt along every stretch of the Heidelberg Project.
It is the car culture, so central to Detroit, that firmly roots the work to its host city. Making sense and use of the materials that surround him in abundance, Guyton works on the junk that the city so readily discards, and creates this inherent link with Detroit’s history and culture.