Artist Eric van Hove is a Belgian artist that was born in Algeria and grew up in in Yaoundé (Cameroon). After receiving a Cda-Projects Grant van Hove made his way to Morroco to create the V12 Laraki, an immensely labor intensive and excruciatingly detailed Mercedes V12 engine. The engine is built from 53 materials that have been hand-forged by 35 Moroccan master craftsmen.
When we say labor intensive, we mean it. The V12 Laraki was nine months in the making, beginning with van Hove completely disassembling a Mercedes engine. Dismantling a Mercedes engine is a job in and of itself (although not unheard of), but for van Hove, the real work came when he then created reproductions of every single piece. Working with several artists from different regions in Morocco, around 465 parts were made and 660 copper bolts were cast.
The engine itself has quite a long and impressive materials list including white cedar wood, high Atlas red cedar wood, walnut wood, lemon wood, orange wood, ebony wood of Macassar, mahogany wood, thuya wood, Moroccan beech wood, pink apricot wood, mother of pearl, yellow copper, nickel plated copper, red copper, forged iron, recycled aluminum, nickel silver, silver, tin, cow bone, goat bone, malachite of Midelt, agate, green onyx, tigers eye, Taroudant stone, sand stone, red marble of Agadir, black marble of Ouarzazate, white marble of Béni Mellal, pink granite of Tafraoute, goatskin, cowskin, lambskin, resin, cow horn, rams horn, ammonite fossils of the Paleozoic from Erfoud, Ourika clay, geometric terra cotta with vitreous enamel (zellige), green enamel of Tamgrout, paint, cotton, argan oil, cork, henna, rumex.
The engine itself won’t be dropped into a Benz anytime soon, but it is an amazing piece of art that represents Morocco, its natural resources and its people.