Cao Fei, one of the most innovative young Chinese artists, interprets internet culture into physical products. She is known for her work building a RMB City on Second Life, using stop-motion animation in the short film La Town, and more. Her most recent work is the BMW Art Car #18, a carbon black M6 GT3, unveiled today at the Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing. Departing from the norm, Fei drew upon her experience in multimedia and created a video which utilizes augmented reality instead of simply painting the car. In total, Fei spent three years on the project commissioned by BMW. Her research consisted of track time with racecar driver Cyndi Alleman and a visit to the BMW factory in Tiexi, China. As the youngest art car artist at 39, Fei builds upon an already astounding art career spanning tow decades, including various prestigious exhibitions, specifically a 2016 retrospective at MoMA PS1 in NYC. Her work will be on display at the BMW Experience in Shanghai along with a virtual reality exhibition at Art Basel in Switzerland in June.
Beyond the art, the M6 GT3 emphasizes technical engineering, in the form of speed and 586 horsepower. In November, Cao Fei's art car will be raced at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau by Augusto Farfus, a BMW factory driver who is also known for racing the previous Baldessari art car earlier this year. Dating back to 1975, the art car series represents powerful expressions of what a car can be, and Fei's virtual reality project demonstrates the power of technology in 2017 while affirming BMW's design and technological prowess.