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Bmw art car 20 in paris unveiling

Here’s How the 20th BMW Art Car Unveiling in Paris Went Down

BMW has collaborated with globally renowned artists for almost 50 years as part of their ‘Art Car’ series, and for their 20th vehicle, we headed to Paris to check out the global unveiling of the BMW M Hybrid V8 by artist Julie Mehretu. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, names like Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons have both designed Art Cars in the past alongside Australian artists Ken Done and Michael Jagamara Nelson, who created two of the most beautiful BMW M3 Group A racecars that we’ve ever seen.

It’s a privilege to travel to Paris for any event, but sharing a room and a dinner with BMW’s CEO, the artist Julie Mehretu, and members of the Centre Pompidou was a truly remarkable experience.

RELATED: BMW’s Vision Neue Klasse X Shrinks the Grille, Previews SUV Future.

Bmw art car 20 in paris ceo oliver zipse
BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car by Julie Mehretu | Image: BMW

The 20th Art Car is based on a BMW M Hybrid V8 racecar and follows the BMW M6 GTLM created by John Baldessari in 2016. It will compete in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans, an important step in the process for artist Julie Mehretu who says the BMW Art Car is only completed once the race is over.

“The whole BMW Art Car project is about invention, about imagination, about pushing limits of what can be possible. 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,” said Julie Mehretu.

Performance-wise, the BMW M Hybrid V8 weighs around 1,029kg and is powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 engine and electric motor that produces around 477 kW of power and 650 Nm of torque depending on the circuit. Results for the team so far have been mixed, achieving a best place finish of 6th overall at IMOLA as part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The debut race for the Art Car livery will be at 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 12th, 2024.

As for the design of the Art Car, 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.” 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,” Julie Mehretu says.

Oliver Zipse, the Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG was in Paris for the unveiling, and he said that 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.”

Most importantly, BMW and Julie Mehretu’s collaboration also includes a joint commitment to a series of Pan-African Translocal Media Workshops for filmmakers. These workshops will tour various African cities in 2025 and 2026 and culminate in a major exhibition at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.

Bmw art car 20 in paris with executives
BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car by Julie Mehretu | Image: BMW

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