World premiere of Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car

World premiere of Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car

BMW Group Cultural Engagement

May 22, 2024
World premiere of Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car
www.bmw.com
Instagram / #juliemehretu / #BMWArtCar / #BMWGroupCulture

BMW presented the 20th BMW Art Car to the public for the first time at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Designed by renowned New York-based contemporary artist Julie Mehretu, the project transforms the BMW M Hybrid V8 race car into a performative work of art, continuing a longstanding tradition of BMW Art Cars and competitive racing. Just a few weeks after its World Premiere in the French capital, the newest edition in the storied BMW Art Car collection will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“The whole BMW Art Car project is about invention, about imagination, about pushing limits of what can be possible,” says Julie Mehretu. “I don’t think of this car as something you would exhibit. I am thinking of it as something that will race in Le Mans. It’s a performative painting. My BMW Art Car was created in close collaboration with motorsport and engineering teams. The BMW Art Car is only completed once the race is over.” Leading up to race day, Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car will make an appearance at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este in Lake Como.

Space, movement and energy have always been central motifs in Julie Mehretu’s work. For the design of the 20th BMW Art Car, she transformed a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional representation for the first time, with which she succeeded in bringing dynamism into form. Julie Mehretu used the colour and form vocabulary of her monumental painting Everywhen (2021–2023) as a starting point for her design. The work is currently on view at the artist’s major retrospective at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and will subsequently become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, to which it has been gifted.

Its abstract visual form results from digitally altered photographs, which are superimposed in several layers of dot grids, neon-coloured veils and the black markings characteristic of Mehretu’s work. “In the studio, where I had the model of the BMW M Hybrid V8, I was just sitting in front of the painting and I thought: What would happen, if this car seemed to go through that painting and becomes affected by it,” Mehretu says. “The idea was to make a remix, a mash-up of the painting. I kept seeing that painting kind of dripping into the car. Even the kidneys of the car inhaled the painting.”

“The BMW Art Cars are an essential part of our global cultural commitment,” says Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “For almost 50 years, we have been cooperating with artists who are just as fascinated by mobility and design as they are by technology and motorsports. Julie Mehretu’s vision for a racing car is an extraordinarily strong contribution to our BMW Art Cars series. Julie Mehretu has created more than an amazing Art Car. Her ideas provided the impetus for us to expand the cultural commitment of our Art Cars to promote the creativity of young artists in Africa.”

The collaboration between BMW and Julie Mehretu also includes a joint commitment to a series of PanAfrican Translocal Media Workshops, which will tour various African cities in 2025 and 2026, and will culminate in a major exhibition at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town. The goal of the project is to provide a space for artists and filmmakers to collaborate and exchange ideas.

Press contact: Christiane Pyka, Spokesperson BMW Group Cultural Engagement, T +49 89 382 40139 / Christiane.Pyka [​at​] bmwgroup.com

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