A conversation with Helidon Xhixha, the artist who models light through form
There is a thin red line (and it could hardly be any other colour) that connects Ferrari, the sculptor Helidon Xhixha and the Tuscan town of Pietrasanta. Over the first 10 days of July the capital of Versilia, known around the world for its marble work, hosted the International Media Test Drive of the GTC4Lusso for lifestyle journalists.
However, the exhibition Shining Rock by Helidon Xhixha, famous for art that seeks to shape light through form, is also taking place in Pietrasanta (until 25 September). It was Helidon Xhixha who, in 2003, produced the imposing statue of the Prancing Horse on show at Maranello opposite the entrance to the new factory on Via Grizzaga. The Official Ferrari Magazine met the Albanian artist in Pietrasanta.
THE OFFICIAL FERRARI MAGAZINE: This question is a must: how did your passion for Ferrari begin?
HELIDON XHIXHA: Although Albania was a communist country, we heard reports of an Italian company that produced unique cars, whose symbol was a Prancing Horse. My first face-to-face with a Ferrari was when I was eight years old. It was a scale model of a 250 GTO. A real privilege that my peers could not afford. It was thanks to the position of my father, one of the first Albanian artists of the post-war period. And I remember that moment: my eyes were not looking at a car, but at an object with unique shapes, a sculpture. I was entranced by the dynamism that static model conveyed.
TOFM: …a passion that went a good deal further, given that one of your works today is a few metres from Ferrari.
HX: From that moment, I always saw Ferrari as something extraordinary, with a strong artistic character. I always wanted to capture what I consider a special moment in my life. A moment of idyllic form, a thought to which I can dedicate my art. And this thought could only take the form of a steel Prancing Horse. The sculpture was created to celebrate the history of Ferrari, a perennial symbol of elegance, beauty and tradition.
TOFM: Tell us about your art. You are known for working in steel, through which you model light...
HX: Modelling light, giving life to form, is a desire that I have cultivated since childhood. I have always worked with steel because it expresses the contemporaneity of the era in which we live. Steel is unique because it has an unusual energy, which we release by shaping it. For Shining Rock I also grappled with marble, a sensitive material, which drove me to bring out the hidden soul within these large blocks. With steel I have always tried to sculpt light through matter. With marble, however, I carved matter to bring out the soul of the material itself. Because, as my father taught me, all matter has a soul. And it's up to the artist bring it to the surface.
TOFM: Coming back to the world of the Prancing Horse, what is your favourite Ferrari?
HX: The Enzo. For its futuristic and aggressive design. Something never seen before. I have always thought it came from space. A car light years ahead of everything else.
TOFM: And what do you think of the GTC4Lusso you have seen up close in Pietrasanta?
HX: The GTC4Lusso has a very energetic style. It is a vehicle that conveys its being, its character. Its lines absorb you and instil the desire to touch it, like a true work of art. It is a moving sculpture. It could not be otherwise because it is the result of work by a group of extraordinary people who act in unison like an artist, always able to look beyond.