World / Offbeat

Italian artist sculpting iconic Fiat 500 car out of block of white marble

AFP-JIJI

A young Turin-based artist has spent months sculpting a life-size Fiat 500 car out of a 15-ton block of white Carrara marble in a work he sees as a critique of today’s consumerist, throw-away society.

Armed with his circular saw and a face mask to keep away the dust, Nazareno Biondo began work on the piece last year, slowly and meticulously hewing out of stone a copy of the iconic “Topolino,” the original small two-door rear-engined city car that still symbolizes, 60 years after its launch, Italy’s postwar economic boom.

“It’s my biggest work so far,” the 30-something sculptor said in his atelier on the outskirts of Turin, a city which is also home to the famous car brand.

Biondo, who graduated from Turin’s Albertina Academy of Fine Arts, specializes in working in marble, and has already carved gold ingots, bundles of dollars and even a Vespa motor scooter out of the white stone.

But far from being a symbol of the “Dolce vita,” his “Cinquecento” will be an evocation “of a bygone era, where the future of my generation could still be decided,” he said.

Once it is completed, probably in a few months, the work will look like a car ready for the scrap yard, “because my pieces are a reflection of consumerism, of the waste of contemporary society,” he said.