The Espoo Museum of Modern Art’s (EMMA) second World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 exhibition presents unique BMW Art Cars. This is the first time that cars from the BMW Art Car collection will be exhibited in Finland. These fascinating works of art represent top design and highly tuned technology from various decades.
The artists featured at EMMA are Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Ken Done, Michael Jagamara Nelson and Sandro Chia.
The BMW Art Cars are a rare collection of mobile sculptures. One of the most interesting cars at EMMA is the one created by Alexander Calder, which inspired the entire collection. Back in 1975, French racing car driver Hervé Poulain – a great friend of the visual arts – asked his friend, American artist Alexander Calder, to design a car. The two men found a patron in BMW Motorsports, which manufactured a Type 3.0 CSL racing car for Calder to modify. A car was a natural choice for Calder, who was known for not only his large abstract sculptures, but also his mobiles. In his works, Calder used both motors and the gentle motion created by currents of air. The main colours in his art car are blue, yellow and red – all basic colours typical of his vibrant art. The same colours are strongly present in the sculptures exhibited at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. In Finland, Maire Gullichsen organised an exhibition of Calder’s works at Galerie Artek in 1937.
Andy Warhol, one of the best-known artists of the twentieth century, used commercial visual elements in his art and challenged his contemporaries to rethink the boundaries between the visual arts and pop culture. It is easy to see why Warhol was inspired by the thought of painting a car, as he was interested in industrial paints and everyday objects and things. In 1979, Warhol became the first artist who painted his BMW Art Car by himself.
The BMW Art Car created by Frank Stella in 1976 is patterned with a black-and-white square grid reminiscent of oversized graph paper. In 1989, two Australian artists realised their vision of the union between car design and the visual arts. Aboriginal artist Michael Jagamara Nelson drew from the cultural heritage of his tribe. Inspired by parrots and parrot fish, the art car created by Ken Done appears to be in constant motion. The newest BMW Art Car exhibited at EMMA was created by Italian modern artist Sandro Chia in 1992. His work constitutes a face that consists of many smaller faces.
All in all, the BMW Art Car collection includes works from 17 internationally renowned artists. In addition to the artists featured at EMMA, these include Roy Lichtenstein, Ernst Fuchs, Robert Rauschenberg, Matazo Kayama, César Manrique, A.R. Penck, Esther Mahlangu, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Olafur Eliasson and Jeff Koons.
Mobile Design Studio, a life-size clay model used by car designers, will be displayed at WeeGee until 9 September. Design has been integral to the automotive industry from the very beginning. Throughout its history, the automotive industry has been known as an innovative and important industry in terms of design. In car design, shapes and forms combine with aerodynamics, safety, comfort and technology. Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design at BMW, believes that sound, gestures and touchscreens will be used increasingly to control cars, which will cause car design to change radically once again.
The BMW Art Car collection tours design events and art exhibitions around the world. Works from the collection have been exhibited at the Louvre in Paris and the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, to name just a few examples. This is the first time that BMW Art Cars will be exhibited in Finland, where the exhibits were transferred directly from the London Olympics.
BMW Art Cars at EMMA from 1 September to 31 October 2012
OPEN WORKSHOPS AT WEEKENDS
Saturday, 1 September, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, 15 September, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, 30 September, several workshops at the Art Race event
Saturday, 6 October, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, 27 October, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Colour your car! Create a key fob in the spirit of BMW Art Cars.
BMW WORKSHOP AT ILME
30 September to 31 October 2012
Create your own BMW Art Car and enjoy the electric atmosphere!
30 September 2012, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Open workshops, a miniature car lot, toy cars and real cars and much more to see and experience.
More information on the BMW Art Cars exhibited at EMMA:
Alexander Calder, 1975
The first BMW Art Car saw the light of day in 1975 when Alexander Calder created a new look for the BMW 3.0 CSL model. The car was one of his last and most interesting works. When designing a new look for a racing car, Calder had an opportunity to play with colours and shapes in motion in an entirely new way. His BMW Art Car took part in the legendary 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1975.
Frank Stella, 1976
The New York artist Frank Stella is known for translating his ideas into various media in a diversity of ways. He is also known as a motorsport enthusiast. For this reason, he took on the BMW Art Car project with great determination in 1976. His BMW Coupé raced at Le Mans in 1976.
Andy Warhol, 1979
The name Andy Warhol is synonymous with pop art. Considering his concept of art, a car as a mobile art object came naturally to Warhol. In his day, he declared soup cans to be works of art and aspired to have a department store closed so that it could be preserved as a museum for posterity. It is no surprise that he saw no conflict between technology and creativity. His studio became the legendary Factory, dismantling the dichotomy between sophisticated art and everyday life. The BMW Art Car designed by Andy Warhol is marked by curved surfaces of colour. “I have tried to give a vivid depiction of speed. If a car is really fast, all contours and colours will become blurred,” Warhol explained. His BMW Art Car raced at Le Mans in 1979.
Ken Done, 1989
Ken Done uses vivid colours and brushstrokes portraying the typical face of Australia: landscapes, animals, beaches and gardens. After familiarising himself with the impressive BMW Art Car collection and its famous artists, he saw the task of creating a new look for a racing car as an enormous challenge and a great compliment. From the very beginning, Done knew exactly how the car should be designed. He wanted the paintwork to express the fascination he held for the racing car, which represented speed and high technology to him. At the same time, he wanted his work of art to be typically Australian, reflecting the vitality of his homeland. “I have painted parrots and parrot fish. Both are beautiful and move at an incredible speed. I wanted my BMW Art Car to express the same thing,” Done explained.
Michael Jagamara Nelson, 1989
A member of the Australian Warlpiri tribe, Michael Jagamara Nelson grew up in the Aborigine tradition. His grandfather taught him painting techniques used by his ancestors, who belonged to the Papunya community. Nelson was asked to transform a black BMW M3 racing car. After seven days of tireless work, he had created a masterpiece of Papunya art. The geometric shapes on his car appear to be abstract, but those familiar with Australian mythology can see kangaroos, emus, ants and opossums.
Sandro Chia, 1992
Sandro Chia was born in Florence in 1946. He spent his childhood in this magnificent Renaissance city and adopted a relaxed and almost playful approach to the fine arts. His works were exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1982 and have since been featured at exhibitions around the world. As a child, Chia painted graffiti on cars, but his attitude changed over time. “The car is a much coveted object in our society. It is the centre of attention. People look at it. This car reflects those looks,” he explained.
Press images: http://kuvat.emma.museum/kuvat/
Pilvi Kalhama, Director, EMMA, tel. +358 40 533 4070
Petteri Mesikämmen, Marketing Manager, BMW Finland, tel. +358 9 6137 4245
Henri Jantunen, Corporate Marketing Manager, tel. +358 9 6137 4217
BMW is the main partner of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.
Design plays an important role in the history and future of BMW. The success of BMW is founded not only on technical expertise, but also on the crucial ability to connect with people on the emotional level. As part of this strong heritage, BMW Finland serves as the main partner of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.
More information: http://www.bmw.fi/fi/fi/general/kampanjat/wdch2012/index.html