What does a watch brand and a motorbike creator have in common? Chicara’s motorcycles are like no other. You could ride them, they could perform on the road, but reducing these unique pieces of art to a simple means of transportation would be to miss the point of their creation entirely. When the driver parked the 17-tonne truck in front of the M.A.D. Gallery – which is located on a steep street in Geneva’s old town – and left us with 770kg of encased motorbikes suspended nearly two meters off the ground, I’ll admit we weren’t too sure how next to proceed. Thankfully, the artist himself was there. In his non-matching shoes and Chrome Hearts t-shirt, Chicara put his curly, grey hair in a ponytail and went to work, hammer in gloved hand. Through his translator, he gave us instructions on how to assist him in the task. It took two hours to unpack the huge crates in the street, where even a police officer admitted he wouldn’t dare pulling over and giving a fine to the driver of one of the bikes!
Chicara installed his three motorbikes in the gallery and, for the next seven hours, cleaned and polished every square centimetre of each machine with cotton buds and a soft cloth, demonstrating an attention to detaiel that has to be seen to be believed. But seven hours is nothing compared to the 7,000 or more hours he put into making each of these two-wheeled sculptures. In 2004, after three years of painstaking work, he completed Chicara Art One, which launched a series of unique pieces. Chicara designs, manufactures and hand-assembles approximately 500 components made of steel, aluminium, chrome, brass and copper, to metamorphose vintage 1939-1966 motorcycle engines into works of mechanical art.