He is Joseph Klibansky, a new media artist born in South Africa in 1984, but based in the Netherlands. She is a car that needs no introduction: the award-winning 458 Italia. Her sinuous curves have turned many heads, and the young artist fell passionately for her charms. Indeed, he decided to employ her as a unique canvas for his art, which uses innovative techniques combining digitally manipulated photographs with painting. The Official Ferrari Magazine caught up with Klibansky, fresh from the success of his first Italian exhibition at the Palazzo Franchetti in Venice, after a day spent at Maranello, which he called ‘the Holy Grail’, the place where the car is kept. The place where Ferraris are made.
THE OFFICIAL FERRARI MAGAZINE: How did your Ferrari passion begin?
JOSEPH KLIBANSKY: It is linked to my childhood. My father had a clothes shop. When he placed large orders for goods, he received a scale model of a car as a present. So I had my first Ferrari at the age of five. I was mesmerised. I looked inside the vehicle to imagine what it would like be to sit behind the wheel of a car like that. Just a few days ago I had a very similar experience: a mum approached my Ferrari with her little two-and-a-half-year-old. ‘My son loves this car. Do you mind if he has a look?’ I didn't have to think twice and let him sit in the passenger compartment. And at that moment I realised that I was looking at the purest and most magical thing in the world.
Because a child knows nothing about the world, yet he recognised that car. This is the strength of the Ferrari passion.
TOFM: What does Ferrari mean for Joseph Klibansky?
JK: Freedom. When I drive my Ferrari my mind is free. I listen to the sound of the engine; I feel the beauty and quality of the materials... I have a break from everyday life. I find inspiration.
TOFM: Your love for the Prancing Horse is so strong that you used your 458 Italia as a real canvas, creating an art car. Can you tell us about this project?
JK: The perfection of the bodylines of the 458 represented a “new universe” in which to exhibit my art. I wanted to combine automotive art with my artistic expression in a new dimension. I imagined myself behind the wheel of a kind of utopia. But I also wanted to bring art to the people, around the world, from Amsterdam to the most hectic metropolises. And I would say that I have succeeded. Everywhere the result is always the same: as it passes by it is as if someone has pushed the slow motion button. Time slows down! People stop. They stop what they are doing. And they look. This is because it is a Ferrari. There could be no better way to do what I like most – that is to use my art to tell real stories that speak to the public.
TOFM: What do you think of the growing role of technology in everyday life? And how does technology influence your art?
JK: I think that an artist's works reflect the cultural spirit of the era in which he lives. When the public sees his works in a hundred years, I imagine it will want to understand what it really meant to live at that time. Personally I think that technology is functional to my way of making art, because it allows me to really represent our age.
TOFM: How long did it take for you to complete this art car?
JK: About four months. Although in fact I would say much longer because I used the paintings produced over the last five to six years, taking the best elements and combining them in a new work of art. It's a kind of overview of my artistic production exhibited on bodywork. But this art car is only the first version: I’m experimenting with new materials because I would like a permanent version, less sensitive to ultraviolet light.
TOFM: What is your opinion of the 458 Italia? And the California T as well, given that you also own one of those…
JK: The 458 Italia is my first love, my first real Ferrari! It is the technological apex of a certain era. It is something special. It transmits such power, like a tiger. But the California T with its turbo engine also has a lot of power: a beautiful car, perfect for long journeys.