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Robert Rauschenberg: E24 635CSi. The sixth Art Car followed a successful formula, using a pop artist and a 6 Series.
For the sixth Art Car #BMW again opted to use another pop artist, Robert Rauschenberg, and, rather oddly, it decided to use the same car for a canvas as the fifth car: an E24 635CSi – although this time it was a later 1986 model with US-spec impact bumpers.
Rauschenberg was born in Texas in 1925 and was one of the artists who paved the way for American pop art. After studying art he started designing scenery and costumes for theatres. Later on he experimented with photographic designs, painted in the style of abstract expressionists. He finally discovered his own personal style in what’s known as ‘combine painting’ – a collage technique integrating real objects and photographs into the abstract painting.
Rauschenberg was first to use other artist’s works on his Art Car, which he processed by means of photographic techniques and projections onto the car.
For example, on the left we see Bronzino’s ‘Portrait of a Young Man’, and on the right a painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Rauschenberg’s own photographs of trees and swamp grass point to the environmental problems associated with the motor car. The ‘hub caps’ are formed using photographs of antique plates. The associations between the narrative elements are grouped along the surfaces, composing a virtual story for the observer to behold.
It was somewhat ironic that despite depicting some of the environmental issues created by the car in his artwork he was happy enough for a palm tree to be felled from in front of his studio in Florida in order to get the rolling canvas into the studio – which demonstrates just how keen he was to be involved with the Art Car project.
With his Art Car Rauschenberg stayed true to his ‘picture within a picture’ collage technique and was the first artist to work with foil rather than paint and lacquer to create his images. “I had to make sure that whatever I did beautified her,” he said. “I wanted to bring the whole world into it.” On the car Rauschenberg depicts three different worlds: that of art; that of nature; and that of the technical world in a sort of cultural kaleidoscope.
While the first four Art Cars were racing machines that took to the track in anger, Rauschenberg’s #BMW-6-Series was the only car to be driven on the road – by Rauschenberg himself. In an interview he commented: “There must have been around eight or nine accidents… people driving past and going ‘what was that?’ as they swivelled their necks to get a closer look. Once I saw that, I knew it was going to work.”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.