The petrol-fuelled, bikini and sixpack-infused ‘Culture of Car’ is alive and kicking, as the billion-dollar Fast & Furious empire shows.

The exhibition ‘Tu nais, tuning, tu meurs‘ (You’re born, tuning, you die), organised within the framework of the 9th Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne (this year’s theme is ‘the senses of beauty’), shines another light on this phenomenon and particularly, on car tuning.

One might think tuned cars are ugly and cliché. Yet as in art, defining what is beautiful, is not the point. What counts, is the (short) moment spent thinking, in this case about beauty, bad taste or <…>.

Defining waymarks. Challenging prejudices. Asking questions.

If tuning was to be seen as ‘contemporary art’, would that art correspond to an obsessive, post-modern tendancy to hype the un-definable, un-defendable and un-sellable? Do tuners themselves see tuning as art, if they think art in general has an interest at all?

Or does tuning stand for a post-industrial design aesthetic? The post-modern search for identity and the customization of our lives, in a wider sense?

The exhibition does not give answers, but is successful in making us think, without prejudice, about beauty and material culture.

Until June 15, 2015
Musée d’Art et d’Industrie
2 place Louis Comte, Saint-Étienne

— Words  # A.D.

 

L’Age du Tuning – infusé d’hydro carburants, de bikinis et d’abdos – n’est pas révolue, comme le confirme le saga à succès Fast & Furious.

Organisée dans le cadre de la 9e Biennale de Saint-Étienne (dont le thème cette année est «les sens du beau»), l’exposition Tu nais, tuning, tu meurs met le Tuning ou «Bolidage» sous une nouvelle lumière.

Le tuning, est-il de mauvais goût? Est-ce bien d’Art dont il s’agit et de surcroît d’un art indéfendable? Ou bien le tuning incarne-t-il l’esthétisme et le design post-industriel? Une recherche post-moderne de l’identité. L’über-personnalisation de nos vies?

L’exposition ne donne pas les réponses, mais elle réussit son pari: celui de nous faire réfléchir, sans préjugés, sur la beauté et la culture matérielle.