The Art Basel Festival in Switzerland became the place where the BMW Group unveiled the first visuals for its next Art Cars.
Chinese artist Cao Fei and American John Baldessari showed the insight into the design process and revealed the inspiration behind the concepts for the 18th and 19th BMW Art Cars. Base model for both artists is a BMW M6 GT3. With their commitment, Fei and Baldessari will be joining the ranks of artists such as Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney and Jeff Koons.
“We are delighted to be working together with two very innovative and influential artists, Cao Fei and John Baldessari, in creating two new BMW Art Cars,” said Harald Krüger, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in a press release. “Jeff Koons did a fantastic job on our last Art Car and we are looking forward to further, compelling pieces. Fei’s all-encompassing curiosity as well as John’s intuitive minimalism will make for great additions to our collection that are second to none.”
Fei is considered by numerous international media as the most important Chinese contemporary artist. Having no previous personal relation to automobiles, she has started an extensive research on the topic of “driving” and “the car” as an intercultural object and sculpture for her BMW Art Car project.
“The theme of this century is that we enter ‘a landscape of no man’s land’, e.g. autonomous cars and aircrafts and virtual reality,” Fei said. “I expect to transcend the current context of ‘cars’ and to embrace new possible ways of expressions. To me, that not only includes the artist, but also the public.”
Baldessari approached the BMW Art Car project in his signature style. One of his ambitions has always been to bring art outside of the museum and, thus, reach and confront a broader public with his work in an unexpected environment.
“For me, the car is certainly an icon of contemporary life. I have done sculpture before, but it’s the first time I have ever in a sense collaborated,” Baldessari said. “I didn’t design the car – I collaborated with the designers of the car. I think the challenge comes in making something that cannot be understood from just one point of view, but only from a total point of view. I figured my use of colored dots is kind of an iconic series, so I had to include that. I’m actually advertising myself.”
Baldessari’s vehicle will prove itself on the racetrack at the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA (United States) in January 2017. On the other side of the world, the BMW M6 GT3 designed by Chinese artist Cao Fei will take part in a major race in Asia in 2017.