[Art] Bugetti Type 35 by James Angus (2006)


Bugetti Type 35 by James Angus (2006)

Photo by Sebasu_tan on Flickr.

Upon seeing my friend Seb's photos of their trip to the art gallery what appears to be the past weekend (when Ruben was studying frantically and I was frantically completing my last assignment!), I have to wonder why these guys didn't decide to visit a few weeks ago when I needed to be there for class! In any case, I did this analysis about dualities for Digital Media in Social Context, which coincidentally I finished the last assignment for today. Maybe one day it will see the light...

Anyway, make of this what you will.

Although this was one of the first sculptures seen in the museum, my curiosity was piqued by this artwork and this curiosity remains with me still, therefore it is the sculpture I have selected.

'Bugatti Type 35' was completed in 2006 by James Angus and depicts what looks like a car tipped on its side. Upon closer inspection however, the car is not what it seems. On the Art Gallery of NSW website, Angus is described as working in two main spheres, natural creatures and man-made, which presents a duality which I can interpret as being represented here through the relationship between man as natural creatures (if in fact we are considered so) and man-made items.

The sculpture is a full size replica of one of the most iconic racing cars, which was designed for speed and symbolised the modern age and mechanical process but made famous for the "visionary solutions" it employed. This contorted car emphasises a 'manufactured form' and has been distorted through a gravitational shift 30 degrees to the right so that it is unable to support itself upright and shapes we expect to see are thusly twisted. This contortion was also described to reference a famous photography by a Frenchman, Jacques Henri Lartigue, of "a speeding car where limitations of photography makes the wheels appear to stretch behind it".

Although it is mathematically correct, this change is visually disorientating, which is likely why it draws the eye — it is familiar yet at the same time 'unnatural' in the sense that it is not what we expect, and this can be where the first duality lies. As the Art Gallery of NSW websites states, it "bends our experience of these familiar iconic objects". This fusion of maths and art that melds something that is considered extremely precise with art that is usually more fluid is also another interesting duality. Bugatti attended an art school before entering car design and therefore what was an "immaculately engineered machine" is returned to being art.

Other dualities here lie in reality/fantasy aka real/represented. The real product can be interpreted as being the original Bugatti, with the representation interpreted as Lartigue's photograph, yet this has been interestingly inverted here, where what is depicted here is the 'representation' and this has become real instead. The original Bugatti was the "ultimate symbol of modern age and mechanical progress", yet although the Bugatti here is mathematically precise, it does not 'stand up' to being this ultimate symbol, and tips over completely.

You could tie this back to Lechte, and his 'fallacies and truths' concerning images. What he calls the 'illusion of immanence' is also inverted as we are not only treating Lartigue's photograph as a separate reality and a thing, but it has in fact become a thing itself. In considering Lechte though, a new perspective appears as we consider the digital image of today (this artwork was finished in 2006 which allows enough time for this to also be Angus' 'truth'), where manipulation of digital art is quite prevalent. Yet to create this sculpture, this photography by Lartigue has clearly not been altered. Which is real and which is the fantasy?