September 18, 2009 / 8:39 AM / 10 years ago

Sculptor creates Formula One cars with meaning

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Pintor Sirait loathes Formula One racing, so it’s fitting the renowned Indonesian sculptor chose the superfast cars to highlight what he believes is wrong with mankind.

Sirait’s stainless steel replicas of F1 race cars — some life-size, some small enough to fit on a desk — are mangled, riddled with bullets, inscribed with Chinese and Arabic script, engraved with traditional Javanese designs or kisses, and covered in provocative English phrases and supermarket-like barcodes.

The aim, Sirait says, is to make people stop and think about the state of modern man, and just what make Formula One racing so attractive.

“I hate Formula One,” Sirait told Reuters on Friday, the opening day of his latest exhibition in Singapore, which hosts the world’s only night-time Grand Prix race on Sept 25-27.

“It’s loud, its obnoxious, but it’s also something that excites people all over the world. For one reason or another, its become a symbol, something that people worship, and I wanted to explore exactly what is being worshipped.”

Sirait has held several exhibitions outside his native Indonesia, including the Netherlands, China, France, Korea, Malaysia and the United States.

He started the racing car series, of which eight sculptures are on display in Singapore alongside helmets that echo tribal masks, three years ago, as a symbol of globalization.

“Formula 1 race cars ... have become something of an obsession in Asia, standing as an intense, telescoped symbol of globalization,” author and journalist Jamie James wrote in the exhibition’s catalog.

In “Victory,” Sirait created, crushed and then restored his car sculpture, which has wheels bearing the phrase “heaven and hell.” The piece will be shown alongside a video installation featuring the artist’s inspiration, a car crash by F1 driver Lewis Hamilton in 2007, who went on to win that race.

Both “Playboy” and “Target” look at the macho, gung-ho side of racing and stereotype that fast cars and femme fatales go together while “XOXOXO” and “Desire” show the artist’s love of traditional design and calligraphy.

In “Democracy,” Sirait explores the ideal that many nations aspire to, but which more often than not lead to bloodshed.

The sculpture, which bears reference to several wars and insurgencies, is pocked with bullet holes, a recurring theme for Sirait who, influenced by terror attacks at home and abroad, says they make his work more “truthful.”

“I want people to have some fun this race seasons, but also to think about what it all means,” Sirait said. “When you make a case, don’t do it with anger. Use ideas and intelligence.”

“Pintor’s Race Cars Come to ION Orchard” runs from September 18-27.

Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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