Israeli artist and designer Ron Arad has expressed his love of Fiat 500s in a curious way as part of an art exhibition at the Holon Design Museum near Tel Aviv: he crushed them, then he embalmed them, and now they are hanging on the wall of an art gallery in his birth country.
Arad’s fascination with the Fiat and metal revved up many years ago when his father got in a car accident that crushed his Fiat Topolino, which was partially made of wood, according to Wallpaper Magazine.
The experience had a huge impact on Arad because his father claimed that he would have been dead had it not been for the vehicle’s incorporation of wood in the design, since the metal completely gave way to the crushing impact.
Since then, Arad has beaten all kinds of metal into submission, although he told Ha’aretz that in the past, these beatings had a functional purpose.
The squished cars, by contrast, are worthless to everyone – except memories.
“In Reverse’ is an exhibition about the shift from the physical to the digital − except in reverse. Rather than manipulate materials to render them functional or render digital models towards a functional object, here I ‘reverse’ perfectly functional objects and render them useless,” said Arad.
The non-artist or environmentalist might question why anyone would want to essentially destroy six perfectly good vehicles just to hang them on a wall for high fallutin’ people to see, but there is an underlying spiritual component to this intriguing experiment.
Speaking to Wallpaper, Arad said, “The car is a national symbol for Italy and our generation, and it’s a very endearing vehicle. Everyone has stories about their first ever sex in a Fiat, or first kiss.”
“We’re not destroying the cars, we’re immortalising them.”
Other metal objects banged out earlier in Arad’s design career are on display, along with experimental objects such as toy cars that he has used to explore the impact of compression on metal and his bicycle with wheels that will never go flat.
Images via Ron Arad Studio