Elliasson Puts His BMW Art Car On Ice, Suck It Lichtenstein

There's apparently some competition for the Frozen Chevy Nova installation in our ongoing quest for the best piece of ice-based conceptual automotive art pieces. The latest entry comes from Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Elliasson, who has been one of our favorite artists since his The Weather Project at the Tate, which is maybe our favorite contemporary installation (take that FelixGonzalez-Torres). This one involved removing the shell of a BMW H2 racer and replacing it with reflective metal and then covering it with a fragile layer of ice. Said Elliasson "How do we give a tangible dimension to the fact that our engagement in the world has global consequences? How can we as consumers and creators of reality change the trajectory of transportation? Of moving? How can we put pressure on the car as an object?" We got to see Elliasson speak before an exhibit at the Menil in Houston and we can attest to him not being a completely insane foreign artist. Larger photo and press release below the jump.


Munich. At his only museum exhibition in Germany this year, the Danish-Icelandic
artist Olafur Eliasson (*1967) will present his project developed over the
past three years and entitled »Your mobile expectations: BMW H2R
project« at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.

The final version of the 16th BMW Art Car, the outer shell of which Eliasson
replaces with a fragile skin of ice, will be celebrating its premiere in Munich.
This Eliasson-designed automobile, the BMW H2R, is a racing car powered
by hydrogen that has been developed to achieve speed records and at the
same time point to the future in terms of sustainable mobility.

Olafur Eliasson, whose works are currently being presented in a
comprehensive overview exhibition at the MoMA and the P.S.1 in New
York, describes the debate relating to the hydrogen powered racing car in
context with his artistic ideas:

»By bringing together art, design, social and environmental issues, I hope
to contribute to a different way of thinking-feeling-experiencing cars and
seeing them in relation to the time and space in which we live.
Fundamentally speaking, I don't believe that objects exist in isolation. They
are always part of a complex set of physical and mental relationships; they
change according to the context and depend on the user's values and
expectations. They embrace relativity and the passing of time.«

Olafur Eliasson has removed the outer covering of the H2R prototype and
replaced it with a complex skin of two reflecting layers of superimposed
metal spanning the body of the car. This shape is covered with fragile
layers of ice. Thus Eliasson transforms an object of advanced automobile
technology and industrial design into a work of art reflecting themes of
mobility, temporality, renewable energies and the relationship between car
production and global warming in a sophisticated and poetic way.
»How do we give a tangible dimension to the fact that our engagement in
the world has global consequences? How can we as consumers and
creators of reality change the trajectory of transportation? Of moving? How
can we put pressure on the car as an object?«

As a work of art located in time, Olafur Eliasson's transformation of the
H2R-automobile is a design provocation that opens up debates about the
profound impact of art and design in their contemporary social setting.
»Traditional car design has defined the car as a desirable object, a fetish
almost, and a commodity, depriving it of its relationship to its surroundings
and to time. Car design has primarily focused on the most profitable way of
facilitating and mediating physical movement. We have to challenge this,
and I think the task is to reintroduce time as the key producer of our
experiences. Reality then becomes temporal reality. This reintroduction will
give us the possibility to perceive the car and the consequences of driving
in relation to our own bodies.«

To create and conserve the car's ice coating, the vehicle is stored in a
freezer. Over a period of several days Eliasson had the car's exposed
frame sprayed with some 2000 litres of water to gradually produce the
layers of ice. This sculpture, which is in constant interplay with the room
temperature surrounding it, is around 1.5 m high, 5.25 m long and 2.5 m
wide. The mono frequency light located inside the sculpture attracts the eye
to the interspace containing the icescape which is exposed to a continuous
melting and freezing process.

In Eliasson's sculptures and atmospherically unmistakable installations one
senses not only the conditions under which they come about and the
impact of their energy but also the beauty of natural phenomena. It is it not
until they enter the perceptions of the viewer that they complement each

The exhibition is curated by Corinna Rösner and Bernhart Schwenk.

Presentation: chezweitz, Berlin / Detlef Weitz, Roseapple

An exhibition in close collaboration with BMW.

Lars Müller Publishers have published a 336-page comprehensive
publication accompanying the exhibition and documenting as an integral
part of the project the many discussions, interviews and the two »Life in
Space« symposiums. Dialogue partners during the »Your mobile
expectations: BMW H2R project« include Chris Bangle, Ib Chorkendorff,
Yona, Friedmann, Jens Hjorth, Adrian van Hooydonk, Caroline A. Jones,
Bart Lootsma, Ricardo Scofidio, Peter Weibel and Sabine Zemelka.
(Price: ca. € 34,90, ISBN 978-3-03778-117-3)


[Source: BMW, Design Boom]

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