CARJACKED (After Gerhard Richter)

Coll.eo, 2012

Gerhard Richter’s BMW Art Car is modeled after his latest opus, Strip (2011), a series of unique digital prints mounted under Perspex. To create images for this encyclopedic project - which was complemented by a 500+ page limited edition book - the German artist took one of his 1990 abstract paintings and digitally dissected it. First he cut it into two separate strips, mirrored them and repeated them across the length of the page to produce two waves of abstraction. Then he cut the painting into four strips and followed the same process, repeating each mirrored strip so that each of the four final resulting images are the same length.

Next came divisions 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1,024, 2,048 and 4,096. Works from that last division are simply straight horizontal lines of color, each one generated by minuscule cuts of the painting. With each stage of division, the strips become progressively thinner (a strip of the 12th division is 0.08 mm). This process - 12 stages of division - results in 8190 strips, each of which is the height of the original image.

But Richter did not stop here. He then took a 2010 BMW M6 Coupe A509  and painted strips from the series. His seductive, bright car is both simple and incredibly intricate. He successfully merged the analog with the digital. A digital painting on wheels.

The BMW M6 is a high-performance version of the 6-Series automobile, designed by the motorsport division of BMW.  The BMW M6 was produced from 1983 to 1989, and then 2005 to 2010. In the 2010 model year, the M6 was the second-most expensive BMW sold in the U.S. after the 760Li ($137,000), with an MSRP of $108,150 for the convertible and $102,350 for the coupe. In the U.S. the M6 had one of the largest residual value drops at 19%, as it had little if any changes since its 2006 introduction. Production of the M6 ended in mid 2010, with sales over the five year run totaling 9,087 for the coupe and 5,056 for the convertible.

This gorgeous striped 2010 BMW M6 perfectly matches Richter’s vision and aesthetics. Born in Dresden in 1932, Richter is regarded today as the top-selling living artist. In October 2012, Richter's Abstraktes Bild set an auction record price for a painting by a living artist at £21m ($34m).

That buys many BMWs.

Image credit: Gerhard Richer, Peinture, 2010-2011, Installation View, Marian Goodman Paris (source)