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The Julian Schnabel and Vahakn Arslanian Mentorship Project

In searching for the avenues of creativity, the Maybach Foundation created an art mentoring program — coinciding with the Venice Biennale in 2011. The unique collaboration between artist Julian Schnabel and protégé Vahakn Arslanian led to an eye-​catching piece of art, to say the least. Julian Schnabel earned recognition as a painter and sculptor with an invaluable impact on the Neo-​Expressionism movement.

Self-​taught Protégé Arslanian, who was born deaf in Belgium and grew up in New York, has a particular fascination with broken and shattered glass – which is distinctively reflected in his artwork. Arslanian was just five years old when he first met his mentor, Julian Schnabel, who so to speak introduced him to the world of art during a visit to Schnabel’s open-​air studio in New York. Meanwhile, Protégé Vahakn’s work has been shown in multiple solo exhibitions in London, Antwerp, Geneva, St. Barthélemy, and his native New York City, as well as numerous group exhibitions, including the St. Moritz Art Masters. He also participated at Foundation and Maybach Brand events including a presentation at the COE in September 2012.

Their unique mentoring relationship originates from the same grasp on artistic understanding. The artists both understand the inspiration that can stem from disorder – this resemblance enables them to communicate with one another in a distinctive way. On top of this, Schnabel even directed the documentary ‹Vahakn : Portrait of an artist› which gives insight into the artist’s mindset and the approach to his artwork.

This outstanding connection paved the way for their iconic collaboration ‹The Ones You Didn’t Write – The Maybach Car.› They reconstructed a Maybach guard car that has been shot with high powered rifles and, therefore, caught Schnabel’s attention. The artists created a lot of room for open interpretation by covering the entire exterior with a striking variety of female names in a vibrant red. The outcome clearly reflects that the two artists are connected spirits — committed to breaking down the prevailing aesthetic order in order to establish a new way of seeing.

The Ones You Didn’t Write› was installed on the Grand Canal in front of the Palazzo Polignac standing on a floating pontoon until 31 May 2011 and later on moved to the Arsenale Bacin. In a city that prides itself on being ‹car-​free,› this artwork most definitely strikes the eye.

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