press release

The sprinklers of a Los Angeles suburb are the starting point of Auto Center Drive, by Bjørn Melhus (born Kirchheim/Teck, 1966). The artist plays all the characters that appear in the film (Jimmy, Jenny, Big Jim, El Wiz, Dorothy, U-man, the policemen and Norma the Smurf), whose voices are taken from film archives and belong to icons of Western culture such as Elvis Presley, James Dean, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Judy Garland (in the role of Dorothy) – a recurring character in Melhus’s work – whom we often find asking herself where she is and where she has come from. Auto Center Driveis the name of a street in an arid and artificially watered place, devoid of any distinguishing feature, which serves as the backdrop for a metaphorical journey undertaken by Jimmy, the anti-hero chosen by chance, through a fictitious realm called Egomania. Egomania is the setting for a series of meetings which the lead character holds with his many alter egos. Behind the fantastic and estranged narrative about the personal and inalienable search for the self lies a reflection on the power of the image, its capacity for seduction and mythification; on how the media construct identities and how the self can be understood as a prolongation of the media’s projections.


only in german

Bjørn Melhus. Auto Center Drive