Les Aérofiat dans l’historie

Alain Bublex

28 February 1997

Acrylic on polyester 155 x 155 cm

The name Aérofiat groups a series of aerodynamic studies inspired by research done in the 1930s, applied to a contemporary vehicle. The vehicle that serves as the basis for these transformations is a model 126 FIAT.

At the origin of this project is one of the smallest automobiles in production, whose conventional shape is the archetype (in smaller scale) of the modern automobile. As such, it does not profit from any particular affection, in contrast with the Austin Mini or the FIAT 500, for example. Its mechanical architecture, however, places it as the direct descendant of the revolutionary concepts that emerged during the period between the World Wars. It is the last witness of a bygone time that definitively transformed the landscape of the industrial world. It is, in fact, a question of assigning to a common, well-known object, solutions which are now forgotten, conceived at a particular time in its history, and which are at the origin of its present appearance. The Aérofiats arise from the miscegenation between the automobile and its own past. They evoke the modern world at its project stage, when it was still trying to convince and establish itself. At the same time, the transformations remain perfunctory and they reflect a do-it-yourself status. These hybrid, clumsy propositions appear as the description of an unlikely missing link between the aerodynamic prototypes from the 1930s and the vehicles we know, indicating, almost by chance, that these lyrical and ambitious shapes are at the very origin of the “banality” of our day-to-day. Playing with the fascination caused by the photographs of prototypes (the forbidden, confidential nature of the images, traces of privileged instants associated to the precariousness of the subject, an ephemeral object) the Aérofiats are often presented within romantic, narrative settings, associated with other prototypes which did, indeed, exist. These vehicles are functional and, therefore, roadworthy, as photographs or films can testify. However, it is not a question of showing a perfect product, but rather a calamitous construction that proceeds with humour. Finally, the Aérofiat, as a hypothesis midway between the project and the object, tries to insert into history what constitutes the essential element of the present: uncertainty.