New York Artist Julie Mehretu discusses her approach to the BMW Art Car #20

Julie Mehretu and the BMW Art Car #20. Photo credit BMW

‘There is something investigatory and playful about motor racing. It’s a form of sport, a form of imagination, a form of creativity. It’s an important place in the imagination. I was fascinated to play in that place,’ says the Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu speaking of the latest BMW Art Car #20 she designed for the carmaker before it hits the racetrack at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Read the full interview here

Personal Structures biennial art exhibition in Venice addresses intricate narratives within our global community

Maisara Baroud ‘I’m Still Alive’ at Foreigners in their Homeland by Palestine Museum US. Personal Structures 2024, Palazzo Mora. Photo credits Federico Vespignani for Personal Structures

“With Personal Structures, even the most minimalist works are subjective, personal, the result of the artist’s own conditions and circumstances,” says Sara Danieli, head of art at European Cultural Centre, the independent organisation that runs the biennale contemporary art exhibition Personal Structures in Venice. “In this sense, we conceive the exhibition as a platform that values the diversity of artistic approaches and expressions, with the intention of documenting plurality.”

In its seventh edition and running alongside though independent of the official la Biennale di Venezia, the 200 artists from 51 countries exhibiting at the historic Venetian palazzos Bembo and Mora and Marinaressa Gardens individually and collectively reflect on the intricate narratives within our global community.

There is so much to see and so much to take in at Personal Structures. Many of these artists are not represented within global institutions. These are different voices with varied experiences who together form a much-needed layered set of conversations around what it is to be human. All this is thanks to Personal Structure’s unwavering commitment to maintaining an open platform by avoiding the didactic route, allowing individual artistic circles self expression and curational autonomy to speak more fluidly—a concept often missing from such large group shows.

Take a closer look here

My highlights from Fuorisalone at Milan Design Week 2024

‘Emotions of the Sun’ by Champagne house Veuve Clicquot at Fuorisalone © Nargess Banks

Milan Design Week (15 – 21 April) stands out on the cultural calendar for its unparalleled global impact. It is about the sharing of ideas, and speculating how design can help better shape our lives. So what were the 2024 discussions? If I were to narrow it down, concepts floating around could be roughly grouped into three main themes: balancing high and low tech, environmental care, and a touch of magic.

Read more here

Refik Anadol wants to demystify AI through art. I speak with the artist and designer at his latest exhibition at Serpentine

Refik Anadol, Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive, 2024. Installation view, Serpentine North. Photo: Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy Refik Anadol Studio and Serpentine

Refik Anadol is an artist and a designer who fluidly moves between visual art, science and technology, with computational data performing the role of pigments for his artwork. Through data visualisation, he imagines sensory, immersive, otherworldly artworks in which AI invites us to open our human eyes to new ways of seeing, enhance our understandings and expand our creativity. Anadol believes through human guidance, AI could ultimately advance our lives, improve wellbeing, assist education, help create better built environments, and perhaps even find solutions for restoring nature.

With his latest exhibition ‘Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive’ currently on show at the Serpentine North in London, I met with Anadol at the gallery to delve deeper into his mind.

Take a look here

Esther Mahlangu’s first retrospective and her animated BMW art car collaboration

South African artist Esther Mahlangu is a national treasure, her work widely recognised and in private collections worldwide. She works within the centuries-old Ndebele art tradition, practiced by the Ndebele people of South Africa and Zimbabwe. These hand paintings are typically created using delicate feathers and natural pigments. Ndebele artists paint on various surfaces, on walls, houses, clothing, pottery, textiles, and the shapes and colours can carry cultural readings, reflecting social status and spiritual beliefs within the community.

Mahlangu’s work stands out among her contemporaries for its unique, imaginative abstract designs and vivid colour combinations. She works straight from imagination, drafting these precise geometric shapes without the aid of rulers or masking tape, and the thick black lines that are a defining feature in her work echo traditional Ndebele beadwork. Early on in her career, Mahlangu adopted acrylic paint for a more expansive colour palette, and she has worked with wall-size canvas to evolve her designs further.

The artist’s first retrospective, Then I Knew I Was Good at Painting: Esther Mahlangu, opened earlier this month at the Iziko Museums of South Africa in Cape Town with plans to travel to other destinations including the US. It coincides with a colour-shifting art car the artist has created with BMW as part of Frieze LA. Mahlangu famously painted the 1991 BMW 525i Art Car becoming the first female artist and first African artist to take part in the programme. The 2024 i5 Flow Nostokana is an art car for a new era, a moving canvas which simultaneously performs BMW’s latest tech and exhibits the Mahlangus distinctive artwork.

See the art car project here.
And a look at the retrospective here.