BMW brought a tradition back to life when it lined up at the 78th staging of the Le Mans 24 Hours (FR) with an elaborately designed Art Car. American artist Jeff Koons’ BMW M3 GT2 Art Car really caught the eye in France. While the no. 78 BMW M3 GT2, with drivers Jörg Müller (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR) and Uwe Alzen (DE), finished sixth in the LM GT2 class, the BMW Art Car, with Dirk Werner (DE), Dirk Müller (DE) and Andy Priaulx (GB) at the wheel, had to retire early.
Despite this, Koons drew a very positive conclusion from the endurance classic at the “Circuit de la Sarthe”, as he reveals in this interview.
Mr Koons, unfortunately the Le Mans 24 Hours didn’t go the way all BMW fans had hoped for with the BMW Art Car. Did you still enjoy the experience?
Jeff Koons: “This race has been a very invigorating experience. It’s amazing to see the commitment of all the people involved. The fans sleep in tents and stay awake for far more than 24 hours to celebrate this event. This has me really going, as I understand that it is something truly special for all the people to be here. It’s unfortunate that the BMW M3 GT2 Art Car had to retire early, but it’s part of racing.”
Do you feel for the team you got to know well over the course of the Art Car project?
Koons: “Yes, I would have loved to see the team win, but it wasn’t to be. I know how committed they are and how much precision and care they put into their work. Of course we would have loved to see the car win. I would love to give it another chance and have it compete again.”
Power and dynamics are just two of the catchwords in motor racing. Do these terms also appear in the sphere of modern arts?
Koons: “Yes, there are many parallels. Everything is a metaphor for human life. If we build machines, it’s all metaphoric for our own bodies. These race cars are like gladiators out there. They are performing with full power and full impact.”
Usually you create pieces of art that are made to last. The BMW M3 GT2 Art Car, however, went out into a fight against rivals on the track. Was this a new experience for you to see your art in danger?
Koons: “That was really interesting for me and obviously a part of it. This project has felt so special to me, and working on it reminded me of human history. A history that you can trust the most is almost a biological narrative, it’s our DNA. From the beginning of time to now. What people experience here is that life doesn’t go so much through its physical form, but through the experience that is generated within people.”