BMW turns heads at Art Fair with painting on wheels

  • Sruthin Lal, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 28, 2016 19:13 IST
The tenth BMW Art Car César Manrique 1990 BMW 730i was exclusively unveiled at India Art Fair in New Delhi on Thursda (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

With its medley of colours and patterns, waves, circles and spots, green, red, blue, black, white and lilac, it looks more like a butterfly than a car. And its eyes fix on you from the behind the side mirrors as though to say, “watch where you are going.”

Is it a painting? It is, after a fashion. A work of art, on wheels: it is the BMW Art Car, the tenth in the series of 17, a creation of Spanish artist and architect, the late Cesar Manrique, in 1990.

BMW showcased the 730i in India for the first time at the India Art Fair, which started in the Capital on Thursday.

“BMW Art cars are unique creations combining automobiles, technology, design and art,” said Philip von Sahr, president, BMW group India, speaking at the presentation function.

#10 BMW Art Car César Manrique 1990 BMW 730i was exclusively unveiled at India Art Fair in New Delhi by Philipp von Sahr (Budha), president of the BMW Group, India, on Thursday. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

The concept of art cars, which the company calls “rolling sculptures” and priceless master pieces of art, was born in 1975, when artist Alexander Calder painted a BMW 3.0 CSL, a work he completed in one day. Since then 17 BMW cars have gone under artists’ brush, the latest one by Jeff Koons, in 2010 --- a M3 GT2.

Questioned if BMW has any plan to let artists of India, where the German auto major’s cars are popular, Thomas Girst, head of cultural engagement, BMW group said the decision is independent, taken by an international panel of experts outside the company. “In last November (2015), they decided a Chinese artist (Cao Fei) would be the next... in fact we had someone from India on the jury (Shwetal A Patel),” he said.

Coming back to the car on show, in a tragic twist Manrique died just two years after painting the BMW, in 1992 -- in a car accident. He was driving a Jaguar at the time --- no comment on the brand!

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