Following the contributions by Jeff Koons and John Baldessari, Cao Fei (b. 1978) is the youngest and first Chinese artist ever to create a BMW Art Car. The internationally acclaimed Chinese multimedia artist addresses the future of mobility such as autonomous driving, airborne cars and digitalization. The BMW Art Car #18 was revealed at the Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing on May 31, 2017.
With her BMW Art Car project, Fei delves into a trajectory spanning thousands of years, paying tribute to Asia’s ancient spiritual wisdom as it swiftly spreads out into the third millennium. The body of work consists of three different components: a video focusing on a time traveling spiritual practitioner, augmented reality features picturing colorful light particles, accessible via a dedicated app (App Store: keyword “BMW Art Car #18”), and the BMW M6 GT3 racecar in its original carbon black. Paying tribute to the carbon fiber structure of the racecar chassis, Cao Fei’s holistic use of a non-reflective black incorporates the car into the possibilities of the digital world.
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During the course of over three years following her announcement, Cao Fei took part in a racing experience with female race driver Cyndie Allemann in Switzerland in 2015. During manifold visits to headquarters, she worked closely with BMW Group’s engineers, designers, and digital specialists. For her research, the artist also went on an extended BMW plant visit to Tiexi.
A quick recap of the BMW M6 GT3
The BMW M6 GT3 has been the top model in the BMW Motorsport customer racing line-up since 2016. The car is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology, generating 585 hp – with the whole car weighing less than 1,300 kilograms. Technical characteristics of the BMW M6 GT3 are also the drive concept, six-speed sequential racing transmission, and high-performance motorsport electronics. The claimed top speed of the BMW M6 GT3 stands at 280 km/h.
Since 1975, a total of 19 artists from all over the world have created BMW Art Cars on the basis of contemporary BMW automobiles. The collection was inaugurated when French racecar driver and art aficionado Hervé Poulain in collaboration with the then current BMW Motorsport Director Jochen Neerpasch asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to design a car. The result was a BMW 3.0 CSL, which in 1975 was raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and became an instant favorite with the public: the BMW Art Car Collection was born. The home of the BMW Art Cars is the BMW Museum in Munich.