ModenArt – The Sculptors of Movement
The history of the ModenArt masters of building automotive bodies is one of the most fascinating. It is also one, which is hardly known. And, it is one of the extraordinary stories of artisans who, with their talent and passion, created some of the greatest masterpieces of automotive history. The auction market is an absolute testament to this, as the five most expensive cars ever sold in the world are all without exception the work of the modern bodybuilders of Modena.
Entirely hand-made bodywork in the style of Renaissance sculptors with basic tools, a set of hammers, a log, a sandbag, shears, a worktop … and without the use of any stylist. One can imagine the prodigious talent of these exceptional artists who have elevated these sculptures to the work of art. What though is left of these great crafts men today? Industrial change and the introduction of composite materials in the 1970s pushed this activity into decline. Most modern bodybuilders have since disappeared. The creations to which they participated have joined the most prestigious car collections.
In Modena, the birthplace of this brilliant talent, there is no memorial place that evokes this magnificent page of history. No archival material has been preserved, no achievements, not even photos that relate to this epoch. How do we get the future generations to understand and experience the thrill of discovering an art that now belongs to a bygone era?
If in the field of the body builders, as in art, the works were associated with their creators, the masters of the workshops of Scaglietti, Giancarlo Guerra, Afro Gibellini and Oriello Leonardo would be as well known and famous as their achievements: the Ferrari GTO, California, or the Testa Rossa. Indeed, these virtuous artists must have designed and built not only the bodies of all five of the most sought after modern masterpieces in automotive history, but also those of some 20 of the 30 models that dominate the auction market in today’s automotive art market.
The idea behind ModenArt was to preserve the artistic and technical heritage of the history of Modena and the automobile. For the past two years, these three masters have dedicated their experience and passion to the creation of a unique collection. It gathers original works in all points identical to their past creations. They have been sculpted with the same tools, the same techniques and above all, by the same hands that created them at the time.
Thus ModenArt showcased the works of eight Modena-born legends, including the prototype Ferrari 250 GTO, GTO 62, GTO 64, 500 Mondial,, 250 GT Nembo Spider, the Maserati 151/3 and the Cobra Daytona.
The exhibition was presented by Philippe Daverio ”ModenArt: Sculptors of Movement” from 10 to 20 October, in the prestigious church of San Carlo, at Modena. The choice of the church was very important as never before has such a place been used for the automotive art.
- Text: Jean Marc Borel
- Images: Gianfranco Visentini
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