Rolls-Royce Avon Mk209 On Display at La Biennale di Venezia

July 3, 2017 | Aircraft Engines, Company News

It’s been a while since we’ve given an update as to what we’re up to here at Jet Art. Rest assured that this doesn’t mean that we’ve not been busy! 2017 has very much been a year of preparation so far. Sourcing parts, labour and consumables we will need for future parts has very much been our focus for the start of the year. Well that, and some small projects keeping us occupied.

One such project began at the end of last year when we were approached by Zad Moultaka, a world renowned artist who was after something out of the ordinary for an art piece he was preparing for La Biennale di Venezia – 57th International Art Exhibition. This item was to be the central piece of his artistic vision and installation, and therefore had to be breathtaking and visually impressive to critics and casual bystanders alike. Our Rolls-Royce Avon Mk209 jet engine ended up being the object that fit the bill. With the engine selected we moved onto the challenge of exporting the load to Zad.

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This wouldn’t just be a typical engine preparation, load and transport. Once Zad informed us of his vision for the engine and the position he would like it to be displayed in we got to work thinking about how it would be able to stand vertically with the jet pipe attached to it, even mocking up a horizontal rendition of the art piece – something that wouldn’t normally be seen outside of the English Electric Lightning housing. We helpfully photo shopped a picture of the engine on display in a museum to help envisage the final product…

The engine and jet pipe would need to get to the Arsenale in Venice, a city renowned for it’s floaty nature – not somewhere you’d envisage moving a heavy item around! Once the export licence was finalised and the lorry was loaded the engine and jet pipe began their journey to mainland Italy. Fortunately this was the end of our involvement in the transportation as the shipment would need to be transferred onto a transport boat just inland from Venice, and moved the final “steps” of the journey on water.

After successful delivery to the engine’s new home, an invitation was received from Zad Moultaka to attend the unveiling and opening night’s festivities including gratis Prosecco and copious amounts of canapes. Both of Jet Art’s directors took it upon themselves to graciously accept this invitation on behalf of the company. It appears the burden of attending was one our bosses felt compelled to bear rather than pass onto their staff… :(

Once back from their jolly business trip, Chris passed me the footage of the exhibit and the surrounding area which we made into a video blog. You can view the blog below:

Some thoughts from our directors regarding the art piece:

“The exhibit is known as ŠamaŠ Soleil Noir Soleil. Zad refers to the engine specifically as the “Holy Motor”, and as you can see the way it is portrayed and viewed is much like an obelisk being “worshipped” by the viewers with their mobile phones. The lighting, atmosphere and choral singing certainly invoke feelings that the sculpture should be both revered and possibly even feared. This is a bit out of the ordinary for us but we were thrilled to see a technological feat of British engineering preserved and displayed to an audience who would never normally view or appreciate it. This is literal “Jet Art”.”

Next up for Jet Art – Transatlantic Sea Race Harrier XV741 restoration begins…