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Chinese artist Cao Fei follows Warhol, Lichtenstein and Hockney in designing BMW Art Car


Chinese artist Cao Fei has designed the BMW Art Car 2017, becoming the latest in a line of world-renowned artists to contribute including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Jenny Holzer, Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons and David Hockney. She is the youngest and first Chinese artist to create a car for the project, well known for her video and digital work.

Unlike her predecessors, who traditionally painted physical cars, Cao has used augmented and virtual reality in her design. The concept consists of three components: a video about a “time-travelling spiritual practitioner”; the physical BMW M6 GT3 race car in carbon black; and an augmented reality app showing colourful “light swishes” floating above the car.

“For her project, Cao chose an unprecedented and immersive approach, empowering the viewer to engage with the artwork through cutting-edge technology,” says BMW’s Ian Robertson.

Cao commented: “To me, light represents thoughts. As the speed of thoughts cannot be measured, the #18 Art Car questions the existence of the boundaries of the human mind. We are entering a new age, where the mind directly controls objects and where thoughts can be transferred, such as unmanned operations and artificial intelligence. Which attitudes and temperaments hold the key to opening the gateway to the new age?”

The BMW Art Car #18 was unveiled at the Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing. Cao Fei’s work was the subject of a retrospective at New York’s MoMA PS1 in 2016, and the artist has participated in the Venice Biennale three times, and showed her zombie film Haze and Fog at the Tate Modern in 2013.


Cao Fei: BMW Art Car #18


Cao Fei: BMW Art Car #18


Cao Fei: BMW Art Car #18


Cao Fei: BMW Art Car #18


Cao Fei: BMW Art Car #18


Cao Fei: BMW Art Car #18