Ever since cars first appeared, they have been changing our world. Not only they completely transformed the way we think about transport, but they have also influenced other fields of human productivity as well. Today, the car exterior design is an art form in itself and there are many designers who worked for major car makers trying to capture the essence of our time and transfer it into a shape of a car. But sometimes, it is the other way around. Sometimes cars themselves serve as an inspiration to an artist to create pieces out of them. Here are some examples of such synergy.
“Fat Convertible”, 2004 by Erwin Wurm
Imagined as a critique of modern society and rampant epidemy of obesity that is ruining so many lives, Fat Convertible sends a powerful message. Once a sleek and lean car is now deformed into this monstrosity of swollen parts, rendering it useless. Of course, there are other explanations of this sculpture, one of them being that the poor car simply had an unfortunate ran in with a hive of angry wasps. Regardless of your take, the Fat Convertible is a great art piece.
“Untitled (Crash 1)”, 2009 by Dirk Skreber
The unfortunate but unavoidable aspect of automobiles is that wherever cars go, car crashes follow. Dirk Skreber managed to capture one of those moments, completely freezing the huge potential energy of a fast-moving car as it impacts a pole, wrapping itself around it. You can almost hear the sound of the crash as you stand in front of the sculpture and half-way expects that the car continues its movement.
“Bugatti Type 35”, 2006 by James Angus
Not many people, apart from die-hard gearheads, that Ettore Bugatti, the founder of Bugatti automobile company, was interested in sculpting and even had some training in art. This has helped him create some of the most beautiful and intriguing car designs in history, setting foundations for what Bugatti is today, a premium luxury car maker. The sculpture by James Angus offers a different perspective on Bugatti Type 35, Bugatti’s most successful racing car, as well as paying homage to Ettore’s artistic side.
“Your mobile expectations: BMW H2R project”, 2007 by Olafur Eliasson
BMW has a long-standing car art program, featuring art pieces made by various artists from around the world, many of them famous. The art is displayed in their museum in Munich. In 2007, the German company commissioned Olafur Eliasson to create the new piece, an H2R hydrogen-powered race car. Eliasson put the car inside a cocoon of steel in order to demonstrate how cars influence global warming. Not the message BMW wanted to show for sure, but their art department is known for their rebellious stance they sometimes take against the management, so they got away with it.
“Beetle Sphere”, 2013 by Ichwan Noor
Trying to demonstrate that even mass-produced items like cars can have a spiritual connection, Ichwan Noor got his hands on a 1953 VW Beetle, one of the most produced cars in history and rolled it into a ball. Apart from looking great, the sculpture reminds us that it is our personal connections that make things worthy, not the other way around.
“La DS”, 1993 by Gabriel Orozco
One of the classic art pieces of the 1990s, La DS is a product of Gabriel Orozco. The artist took Citroen DS, the iconic French car, and cut it in thirds, then put them together omitting the middle third. While the car is no longer functional, the doors and trunks still work and can be opened to let visitors see what Orozco did to the interior. After standing in front of the sculpture for some time, it is hard to imagine that this isn’t the car’s original form since it appears so well put together.
“Practice Zero Tolerance”, 2006 by Adel Abdessemed
One of the staples of any Paris riot are burning cars protesters set on fire. Adel Abdessemed, French artist born in Algeria, took issue with that, so he created his sculpture Practice Zero Tolerance. It is a terracotta model of one of the cars that have been burned, or rather, what was left of it once the fire has been extinguished. While the right to protest is essential to a democracy, burning other people’s cars is definitely a step in the wrong direction and something most French people disagree with.