Volkswagen has been trending for a while in the social media sphere in recent years. Their retro vans and beetles have been remixed to unrecognisable magical form. So to see this at Art Basel is a surprise. The higher echelon of the art world often feel somewhat dated, filled with “old people” hiding behind the gates in their ivory towers. It is unclear if this means that they are rebranding, or perhaps simply that Asia is the “new world” in art as California is in the world of wines.
This work is by Indonesian artist Ichwan Noor (b. 1963), an artist born in Jakarta and studied at the Indonesian Art Institute, Yogyakarta. He got his idea of this piece from his personal perception that objects are products of a “transportation culture,” which induced hints and signs of spiritual emotion.
For this sculpture / installation, real parts from VW Beetle '53 is used as raw materials, and combined with aluminium and polyester to form this majestic sphere measuring 180 x 180 x 180 cm. Exposure to Indonesian contemporary artworks is a first for me at Art Basel Hong Kong, and I am seriously considering traveling to Indonesia for more.
Seriously. Crazyisgood. SML Love. VW lovers rejoice!
Beetle Sphere, 2013
Aluminium, polyester, real parts from VW beetle '53, paint
180 x 180 x 180 cm
# Ichwan Noor
# Art:1 by Mondecor Gallery
Jl. Rajawali Selatan Raya no. 3
# SML Data
+ Date: 2013-05-23T17:48:05+0800
+ Dimensions: 5118 x 3570
+ Exposure: 1/30 sec at f/8.0
+ Focal Length: 19 mm
+ ISO: 500
+ Camera: Canon EOS 6D
+ Lens: Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM
+ GPS: 22°16'59" N 114°10'22" E
+ Location: 香港會議展覽中心 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)
+ Workflow: Lightroom 4
+ Serial: SML.20130523.6D.14135
+ Series: 新聞攝影 Photojournali
(NurPhoto via Getty Images)
There’s something striking and artistic about the contents of a junkyard—the twisted, split, melted, folded, bashed, and smashed remains of automobiles could easily be objects in surrealist works by Salvador Dalí or Pablo Picasso.
At some point along the way, that thought may have crossed Indonesian sculptor Ichwan Noor’s mind. Case in point: He takes the original parts of vintage VW vehicles and reshapes them into spherical or cubic sculptures, creating the effect that they’ve been squeezed or squished. Said Noor of the production of his 1953 VW Beetle sculpture (the top sculpture below):
“I took the shape of the VW Beetle, which is an oval, and returned it to its basic shape, a sphere. I modeled and molded the work using cast aluminum then added original VW parts to ensure people recognized elements of the classic car even though they aren’t seeing it in its usual context[.]”
For more of Noor’s mind-bending work, click here. At the bottom, watch a short video on how his “Beetle Box” sculpture (the second image below) was staged for a gallery opening.