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Discover Bellini Gallery's Latest Riva Yacht Artwork

Disintegrating XI – Riva Aquarama: the new artistic project by Fabian Oefner in collaboration with Bellini Nautica and Car&Vintage


December, 2023

Man looking at Artwork in Art Gallery

A patient listening to time and rigorous design at the service of an ambitious artistic project.

The protagonist? A “disintegrated” Riva Aquarama.

Bellini Nautica is once again making headlines with a new and significant project realized in collaboration with Fabian Oefner and the team at Car&Vintage.

“Disintegrating XI – Riva Aquarama” joins the series “Disintegrating,” which was started in 2012 by the Swiss artist. On this occasion, Oefner ventured for the first time into a context that is not purely automotive, successfully creating a series of photographs with an unmistakable style, permeated by meticulous analytical exploration: a sort of surgical operation that allows the appreciation of the charm of objects from their interior, resulting in a reinterpretation of reality.

I was captivated by the beauty of Riva boats since I was a boy,” stated Fabian Oefner. “I remember strolling along the docks of the French Riviera, where I first saw these magnificent vessels. The deep, rich honey-brown hue of their hulls shimmered in the afternoon light, while the sun cast reflections on the chrome finishes of the deck. Since then, this fascination with the exquisite craftsmanship of Riva boats has stayed with me. The connection is so deep that when the time came to create the first image of the Disintegrating series that ventured beyond automotive, it was natural to choose a Riva Aquarama as the subject. The memories of those harbors, the breathtaking aesthetics, and the unmatched craftsmanship of boat building were my visual and conceptual compass during the creation of this piece.

One of the possible approaches to better understand reality consists of breaking it down, considering it as a collection of many small elements that form a larger picture.

Oefner’s creations typically focus on individual tiny parts, which is why his works involve a deconstruction of objects, turning them into elements to explore the link between time and space, reality and illusion. Each of Oefner’s works is characterized by thousands of shots portraying the individual components of the object under examination; these shots are then carefully positioned to create the illusion of an explosion.

Inside a Riva Yacht

“Disintegrating XI – Riva Aquarama” accurately depicts the exact fraction of a second in which a 1963 Riva Aquarama disintegrates literally, speeding across crystal blue waters. Although the photograph appears to capture a fleeting moment lasting a few milliseconds, it is actually the result of a meticulously orchestrated process that spans several weeks. Oefner and his team photographed over 2600 individual components of an original Riva Aquarama that the Vintage Riva restoration department at Bellini Nautica carefully disassembled: hull, dashboard, instrumentation, and even the pair of V8 engines. Panel by panel, screw by screw.

Oefner’s shots immortalized every single detail down to the tiny splinters of mahogany “magically” exploding. To accomplish this feat, Oefner boarded a helicopter, which, suspended just a few meters above the lake’s surface, provided him with the right perspectives to photograph the Aquarama speeding across the water, piloted by Martina Bellini. Upon returning to his studio in the United States, the artist juxtaposed the 1800 photographs into a single image depicting a moment that never actually existed.


“Disintegrating Riva” serves as an exploration of our perception of time and reality. Oefner’s allure lies in the paradox between what is seen and our conceptualization of time and reality. While the initial glance convinces us that we have witnessed the disintegration of a boat at maximum speed, a closer examination reveals the impossibility of the moment.

The rapidly departing parts appear unscathed, perfectly focused despite their apparent supersonic trajectory. This cognitive dissonance challenges viewers to reconcile visual impressions with scientific understanding, creating a moment that our eyes affirm as real while our brains assert the opposite.

“From the creation of the image emerges a particular memory. While I was photographing the various parts of the boat at the restoration workshop in Clusane, I noticed in a dimly lit corner a stack of mahogany planks. At the top of the stack, I found a sheet with a series of descending numbers. Confused by the sight, I approached one of the artisans, relying on my limited Italian, and asked about the meaning of these numbers. With a smile, he explained to me that they represented readings of the wood’s humidity. He then went on to describe the meticulous process involved in restoring the hull of an Aquarama: the wood intended for use must be stored for at least five years, with regular checks on the moisture content of the planks every few months to ensure it reaches the required level.At that moment, I realized the deep connection between our two crafts: time.

Similarly to the intricate process of creating a photograph that captures a fleeting moment, which requires months of planning and execution, these artisans exercise patience, waiting for years before carefully reconstructing the boat with extraordinary attention to detail. So, in a sense, both of our works are about the passage of time. That’s what comes to mind now, as I look at the finished work of Disintegrating Riva.”

Riva artwork exhibition

The works were previewed during a private event at Spazio Gessi in Milan and subsequently made available to the public at the Private Collection of Riva d’Epoca di Bellini.

In addition to the original artwork “Disintegrating XI – Riva Aquarama,” which was produced as an edition of 8 units at 180 x 100 cm, framed in mahogany in the style of Aquarama, a limited series of 281 C-Prints, each sized 45 x 75 cm, has been created exclusively for Car&Vintage – this being the same number as the Aquarama boats built.

The prints can be purchased from December 6th onwards through Fabian Oefner’s website and at Bellini Nautica

The realization of the project was made possible through the collaboration with Car&Vintage, which documented every moment of the entire process by creating a photographic and video reportage. From the preview onwards, this content has reached the four corners of the globe through their Instagram platform.


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