This year's Goodwood commission is by Audi and is perhaps the most technically ambitious structure yet
A Sussex stately home is an unlikely place to find truly extravagant modernist imagery. Yet ever since 1997, Goodwood House has played host to a series of extravagantly bold sculptures, of a scale and ambition that evokes the mighty monuments of Soviet-era Russia or the fevered visions of science fiction speculators. Marking the entrance and start to the Goodwood Festival of Speed which runs this weekend, these towering structures are all homages to that central element of modern life, the automobile.
The man behind these towering totems of automotive expressionism is the architect, designer and artist Gerry Judah. Judah has now overseen the creation of 11 increasingly elaborate structures, fusing full-scale cars with tonnes of steel to celebrate the engineering and aesthetic achievements of each year's honoured car manufacturer.
From relatively inauspicious beginnings, with a classically-styled monumental prancing horse for Ferrari in 1997, Judah's sculptures have escalated to become a dramatic centrepiece of the long weekend's auto-themed festivities.
The Indian-born sculptor studied fine art and sculpture at Goldsmiths and the Slade before working in set, exhibition and installation design. He currently divides his time between design and painting, and admits to feeling 'seriously blessed' by the ongoing success of the Goodwood commissions. Combined a sense of theatricality and flair with a skilful blend of balance and dynamism, each piece reflects the key characteristics of the chosen brand.
Judah has now worked on sculptures for Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, Renault, Honda, Ford, Rolls-Royce, and Toyota. 2009 is once again the year of Audi, as the esteemed German manufacturer celebrates 100 years of manufacturing. Perhaps the most technically ambitious structure ever created at Goodwood - and certainly the most visually audacious and dramatic - the Audi Loop incorporates two iconic machines from either end of a long and triumphant sporting century. A priceless 1937 Auto Union Streamliner is paired with the latest iteration of the R8 supercar, the V10.
'You've got to think differently every year,' says Judah, explaining how the inspiration for the massive, 40-ton steel loop came to him in a flash, before being translated into a complex temporary structure set against the flinty front façade of Goodwood House. A piece of remarkable purity, it's perhaps the most successful Festival of Speed sculpture yet, highly appropriate for a car-maker that has made modern design a central tenet of its approach.