We look at the work of photographer David De Beyter and his series 'Big Bangers', shown as part of FOAM Talent, 2017.

BIG BANGERS is a project mixing together photography, film and sculpture. It leans on an amateur experience derived from auto-cross, the Big Bangers which is a popular car-destruction practice one can see in the North of France, in Belgium and in the United-Kingdom. The beauty of the gesture as well as the philosophy of the community resides in the act of destroying usual cars with violent crashes that compress motors and car bodies. An esthetic of destruction where, for the amateurs, the resulting wreck is called an « auto-sculpture ».

The BIG BANGERS project spreads out around three research axis. The first one, the transfiguration of landscape through an amateur experience of destruction, is inherent to the project. The second axis, chaos inertia, tries to imply the limits of the sculptural gesture. Inspired by the performative acts carried out by fans through experience, this search opens a door to a reflexion on the ambiguity of the status of a destructive gesture, characterized by a deep violence although totally empty of any political, social or moral claims. The third axis is the one of archive/document and plays on the ambiguity of the images registers. Although they call their pieces « auto-sculpture », the Big Bangers amateurs usually keep nothing more than images of their work. Archives, fanzines, videos or amateur photographs are the starting point of this third research, both as a subject and a medium, in the idea of an archive manufacturing.

The BIG BANGERS project seeks to reveal, in the representation of a destructive practice, a reflexion on the obsolescence and the dematerialization. With its anthropological approach, it brings us face to face with a sort of brutal and chaotic culture where a destroyed car becomes a trophy. Voluntarily extracting a series of shapes echoing sculpture from this practice, that project challenges the notion of progress and plunges us in what seems to be the echo of a society that manufactures its own ruins.


David De Beyter is a french photographer. His approach to photography is both conceptual and documentary. He explores the boundaries between reality and fiction and De Beyter’s work melts together different registers – the present, past and future. His artistic work is mainly based on the concept of Landscape practice and through exhibition’s installations he questions the different status of the image. There is an anthropological side to what De Beyter does. Although present in his work since the beginning, it flourished with the Big Bangers project. On this occasion, he opens up his artistic work to moving images and sculpture, thus refining his reflection and his plastic propositions around the notion of obsolescence.

David De Beyter is graduated in Photography from ENSAV of La Cambre in Brussels in 2008 and post-graduated from Le Fresnoy in Tourcoing in 2010. His work is exhibited in collective exhibitions in France and internationally, Fotomuseum in Vienna, Sofia Foundation Sofia, Aperture Foundation in New York, L’Élysée Museum in Lausanne with Regeneration 2 project. From 2015 to 2017, he set up a co-production between the Center of Art Image/Imatge in Pau, the Art Center le BBB in Toulouse and the Photographic Center of Ile de France, co-production that leads to a personal exhibition in each of the places involved. His work was recently published in Art Press, Movement, Liberation and Usbek & Rica. His work has recently been selected for the prestigious FOAM Talent 2017 photographic exhibition, which will be exhibited in Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, London and New York in 2017 and 2018. At the moment, He reside at the Casa de Vélasquez, residence of the French Academy in Madrid.

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For more of David’s work, click here.

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