Julie Mehretu | BMW Art Car

THE ART OF SPEED.

BMW M Hybrid V8: The 20th BMW Art Car by Julie Mehretu.

THE ART OF SPEED.BMW M Hybrid V8: The 20th BMW Art Car by Julie Mehretu.

Julie Mehretu presents her first design studies for the 20th BMW Art Car. For this project, the internationally renowned artist combines her artistic work with a personal enthusiasm for automotive design and speed. She translates dynamism into form and applies one of her monumental motifs from a two-dimensional picture plane onto a three-dimensional industrially designed object. In the course of this creative process, the BMW M Hybrid V8 racing car prototype becomes the canvas of Mehretu's multi-layered art and the next addition to the legendary BMW Art Car Collection.

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Julie Mehretu | BMW Art Car

GREAT ART MEETS STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY.

For the design of the 20th BMW Art Car, Julie Mehretu uses the colour and form vocabulary of an existing large-format painting from a more recent series of works: obscured photographs, dotted grids, neon-coloured spray paint and Mehretu's iconic gestural markings give her design an abstract visual form. She transfers the resulting image motif as a high-resolution photograph onto the vehicle's contours using a 3D mapping technique. This creates the unique artistic foiling with which the BMW M Hybrid V8 will compete in the Le Mans race.

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"It wasn't until after going to the 24 Hours race in Daytona last year that the idea of how to approach the BMW Art Car really crystallised. I was thinking about Frank Stella's grid and how this could also be a shout-out to former BMW Art Car artists. And I kept thinking of this painting in my studio that I had just finished and the model of the Art Car was in my studio and I thought maybe we can try to have the car move through this painting."
Julie Mehretu
Julie Mehretu | BMW Art Car
Julie Mehretu | BMW Art Car

For the first time, Julie Mehretu, whose work will be presented this year within a major retrospective at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice from March 17, is working with BMW on a three-dimensional format. The interplay of the surfaces and geometry of the vehicle creates a remix of elements of her painting and opens up new perspectives for the artist in her creative process. "The creative play of what you can do in this new three-dimensional space and how many imaginations and inventions are played out to build it is highly instructive. It is not just the car itself but the designers and their deliberations as well as and foremost the drivers and their desires and aspirations which make it become this place of dreams where painting, conceptual art, aerodynamics, speed and aesthetics can participate,” says Mehretu.

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"The prospect of competing in a BMW Art Car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an additional incentive for the entire M Motorsport team to prepare the BMW M Hybrid V8 as perfectly as possible for this big stage."
Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH
Julie Mehretu | BMW Art Car

COMPLEX PROCESS FOR FILM WRAPPING.

In accordance with the regulations of the FIA, the 3D version of the artwork can only be applied to the BMW M Hybrid V8 with a film wrap. For this, Julie Mehretu is working closely with the German Race Spirit team led by Manuel Eberl and Gertraud Brenninger to design the 20th BMW Art Car. Race Spirit was already involved in realising the design created by Jeff Koons for the 17th BMW Art Car.

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WORLD PREMIERE OF THE ART CAR IN PARIS.

In keeping with the long tradition of the BMW Art Car Collection, the artistically designed vehicle will be presented to the public for the first time in an internationally renowned museum on May 21 2024. As with the world premieres of the BMW Art Cars by Roy Lichtenstein (1977) and Jeff Koons (2010), the unveiling will take place at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. That same week, the artwork will be part of the program of the Concorso d'Eleganza at the Villa d'Este in Cernobbio (May 24-26, 2024).

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Julie Mehretu

FROM THE MUSEUM TO THE RACE TRACK …

The close connection between art and motorsport is also an integral part of the history of the BMW Art Car Collection. The very first BMW Art Car, designed by Alexander Calder in 1975, made its dynamic debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans. As the 20th BMW Art Car, Julie Mehretu's vehicle will compete at Le Mans with starting number 20 and will be driven by BMW M works drivers Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Robin Frijns (NED) and René Rast (GER) in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from June 15 to 16, 2024. The artist will also design the racing suits in which they will compete at Le Mans.

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… AND BACK AGAIN.

Following its race at Le Mans, the 20th BMW Art Car will also become an exhibit that will be presented to the public in museums and on art platforms worldwide.

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