Beetle Sphere is a quintessential piece from Noor’s trailblazing work. A comparable work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. In the present lot, he takes the vehicle’s iconic contours and curves to the extreme—“I took the shape of the Volkswagen Beetle, which is an oval, and returned it to its basic shape, a sphere”. The work responds to the darker origins of the vehicle, one loaded with much historical value. It was supposedly conceived of by Adolf Hitler to be “the people’s car” (a literal translation of “Volkswagen”), and was subsequently mass-manufactured. Over the next few decades, its design remained virtually unchanged, and became etched into the hearts and minds of people across the globe. The distinctive rotundness of the vehicle is also a reason for Noor’s choice of vehicle. He explained, “people everywhere, across space and time, know the Beetle. I see the Volkswagen Beetle as one of the most successful designs, one that people will always be familiar with”. However, the uncanny but compressed appearance of Beetle Sphere subverts such expectations, urging viewers to redefine their preconceived notions of an entity.
A painstaking, laborious process is required to achieve the final work of art. Noor is first required to carve a spherical polyurethane replica of the vehicle’s body and cast it in aluminium. This prevents damage from distorting a genuine car. A spherical interior is then made to complement the cast exterior. Finally, original car parts are furnished to complete the illusion. However, this is not the first time that Noor has explored the theme of transport—his older sculptures are an amalgamation of the synthetic and organic, featuring humans or animals with locomotive technological features. Yet, Beetle Sphere represents a breakthrough in Noor’s artistic direction, as he increasingly hones in on the man-made.
The sculptor’s refreshing depictions of the automobile has warranted much recognition. His work has been exhibited internationally, such as in Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy and the U.A.E. The first time he displayed one of his Beetle series at “Art Motoring: Motion and Reflection”, he won the award for Best Work, and subsequently received much public acclaim. Indeed, Beetle Sphere, in all its compressed, compact car glory, exemplifies the untraversed paths that Noor is charting.
 Serena Bentley, “An Interview with Ichwan Noor”, NGV, https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/essay/an-interview-with-ichwan-noor/
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