es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel

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es devlin and BMW group join forces for art basel

 

Hydrogen as a sustainable source of energy and movement is the central theme of BMW’s program at the 2024 Art Basel in Switzerland. The car brand had commissioned London-based artist Es Devlin to create a series of multi-media works unveiled today, June 10th, 2024, in Hall 1.1 of the art fair. Devlin has created a booth displaying four works: Surfacing (2024), Surfacing II (2024), Mask (2018), and Mask in Motion (2018). As an opening chapter, the duo also presents a series of mobile sound installations within a pilot fleet of BMW iX5 Hydrogen vehicles enveloped in prints of Devlin’s collaged paintings. Passengers are invited to listen in on the artist’s conversation with BMW engineers about the potential of hydrogen.

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
all images courtesy BMW Group

 

 

surfacing: unveiling a pilot fleet of BMW iX5 Hydrogen

 

As a pilot project, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen – Surfacing is an expression of the group’s open-technology approach to the mobility of tomorrow. It combines the advantages of locally emission-free electric drive with the driving pleasure typical of the brand. Another advantage: the quick and uncomplicated refuelling process thanks to hydrogen fuel cell technology, providing an additional supplement to battery-electric drive systems. To elaborate, the powertrain of the vehicle, developed according to the BMW X5, features a combination of fuel cells with an output of 125 kW/170 hp, which uses energy from gaseous hydrogen to drive an electric motor from the BMW Group’s Gen 5 program, together with a specially developed battery. This generates a maximum system output of 285 kW/401 hp. The hydrogen tanks can be refuelled within three to four minutes and enable a range of 504 kilometres according to the WLTP test cycle. 

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
BMW iX5 Hydrogen enveloped in prints of Es Devlin’s collaged paintings

 

 

The exterior of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen has been wrapped in a painted blue and white collage in which Es Devlin (see more here) overlays paintings and text made in response to the prints and literature which populated her wall and bookshelves as a teenager. Painted gestures echoing the 1831 woodcut ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, are superimposed over hand written extracts from literature’s longest sentence about water drawn from James Joyce’s seminal novel ‘Ulysses’. Underlying the collage are excerpts from BMW Group publications on hydrogen fuel cell technology. The company is currently testing the vehicle with hydrogen fuel cell technology in selected countries under everyday conditions. The world tour of the pilot fleet is now making a stop at Art Basel 2024, where the hydrogen vehicles are available as a shuttle service.

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
overlays of paintings and text

 

 

es devlin presents a series of multi-media works

 

Meanwhile, in Hall 1.1 of the art fair, Es Devlin (see more here) presents Surfacing (2024), an illuminated cube of rain penetrated by a line of light and Surfacing II (2024), a pair of painted televisions in which a dancing figure appears to displace pixels and pigment. Both are flanked by Mask (2018) a projection-mapped model city fusing hands and river, and Mask in Motion (2018), a revolving illuminated translucent printed city which meshes viewers within its kinetic shadow. Each work continues Devlin’s 30-year exploration of the entangled dance between humans and technology. The booth surprises visitors each hour as Surfacing’s box of rain, like a magician’s apparatus, conjures a 7-minute dance work by Paris-based choreographer Sharon Eyal with music composed by London-based duo Polyphonia.

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
close up on excerpts from BMW Group publications on hydrogen fuel cell technology

 

 

Devlin has spent the past year engaging with engineers at BMW, learning the mechanics behind the hydrogen fuel cell technology and its implications for the future of sustainable energy systems. As an opening chapter to the works on view in Hall 1.1, she has created a simple soundscape drawn from their conversations and underscored by composers Polyphonia which is played to guests in the pilot fleet of BMW iX5 Hydrogen vehicles.

I learned from the BMW engineers the beautiful symmetry of the system at work within the hydrogen fuel cell: the energy that is used to separate hydrogen atoms from oxygen is recreated when the oxygen is reunited with hydrogen within the car. The by-product is not only the energy which propels the vehicle, but water,‘ the artist shares. 

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
the pilot project is unveiled at Art Basel 2024

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es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
Es Devlin at work on the pilot project

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
blue and white prototyping – 01

es devlin wraps pilot fleet of BMW iX5 hydrogen in blue and white collage at art basel
blue and white prototyping – 02

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