It’s been said many times that automobiles themselves are forms of art, with their sleek shapes and elegant accents serving as time capsules to the art trends of the era.
These means of mobility, serving as envied symbols of status or style, are more than capable of holding their own against the art that inspired them.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York was the first art museum to collect and exhibit automobiles as examples of functional design. The Ferrari Cisitalia “202” GT (1946) was the first vehicle to enter the collection, in 1972. It was later joined by a ’61 Jaguar E-type roadster and ’59 Volkswagen Beetle.
Quite fittingly, a brand hailing from a country well-known for its art and culture took the opportunity to highlight the link between art and autos with their recent event, the Peugeot Heritage Tour.
Behind the backdrop of art appreciation, Peugeot officials and brand ambassadors told the story of the French automotive brand’s history and heritage.
A select group of media practitioners were invited to partake of this experience, meeting up first at Ortigas to drive up to the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo in the latest Peugeot models.
Taking the participants there were a set of Peugeot’s newest, face-lifted versions of the 3008 and 5008, and its newest model, the 301.
Far from the typical hatchback or MPV offerings from the brand, the 301 answers the Asian end user’s needs and tastes. It hopes to lure an entirely new set of customers for Peugeot, priced just below P1.1 million and serving as Peugeot’s first local B-segment model. The four-door sedan, likely to be compared against Volkswagen’s Polo sedan, is fully assembled in Europe, with a choice of either manual transmission diesel, or automatic transmission petrol.
The other cars, the face-lifted 3008 crossover utility vehicle and 5008 compact MPV, both feature the latest iteration of Peugeot’s evolving design language, boasting of new headlights and grilles, interior touches and wheel and tire combinations.
After a short stretch through heavily trafficked areas, the group soon found itself on the obliging sweeping roads going up Antipolo. This allowed the drivers to stretch the cars’ legs, with the steep incline being easy work for the diesel vehicles. It didn’t take long to arrive at Pinto.
Unlike conventional galleries, Pinto’s halls are sprawled across a 1.2 hectare property inside a private subdivision in Antipolo. The halls are Mediterranean-inspired villas, though the name itself is ‘door’ in Filipino. Quite appropriately, the museum aims to be a gateway for modern and contemporary art.
The locale was certainly inviting enough with wide greens strewn with lovingly sculpted pieces, some serving double purposes by pointing the way to some galleries, or in the case of one piece shaped like a sundial, telling the time.
Once all the participants had gathered, it was time to begin the tour. First off was the gallery dedicated to Pinto founder Dr. Joven Cuanang, featuring early examples of tribal fertility idols. Here, Peugeot Automobiles’ own founder, Armand Peugeot, was given the spotlight, narrating the family’s start as coffee, pepper, and salt grinder manufacturers, to bicycles and eventually to cars. Peugeot also had displays of the evolution of the Peugeot logo over the 200 hundred years of its existence.
Peugeot would continue to draw several parallelisms to the various exhibits. “Peugeot’s basic strengths can be summed up in three facts. First, Peugeot is the oldest brand in the car industry, since 1810 — trusted for more than 200 years. Second, Peugeot is distinctly French, therefore attention to detail in everything we do is a given. And third, we are the only car manufacturer in the world to have dual expertise. We are in equal parts focused on both engineering and design — a fact that translates directly into the build level and quality of our cars,” said Glen Dasig, Peugeot Philippines president.
Gallery One featured an imposing mural entitled “Karnabal”, itself an intricate and elaborate collaborative effort from 16 different artists serving as a critique of Philippine society. In the same hall, Peugeot exhibited the collaborative work done by its designers and engineers.
Mixed media art pieces, making use of unconventional material, was linked to Peugeot’s futuristic concept cars that dabbled similarly in new mediums.
A special installation depicting a nest with three eggs was used by Peugeot to highlight its merger with fellow French brand Citroen, which had its own fruits as well.
Throughout the galleries were award-winning pieces by Filipino contemporary artists. So too was Peugeot, it showed, with its long list of award-winning vehicles.
Another clever touch to the tour were the tour guides themselves, young student brand ambassadors impassioned by both art and autos that educated the group on the various exhibits. The young curators closely studied both the artworks and history of Peugeot and guided the participants with the skill and confidence of seasoned professionals.
Few brands before had dared to draw a comparison with art. Yet for Peugeot, founded in a country known for its appreciation of art, fashion, fine wine and life itself, it ought to be no surprise.
Art and Autos
Peugeot Heritage Tour
by Iñigo S. Roces
Originally published by MANILA BULLETIN