Inspired by Umberto Eco’s idea and curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini, BMW Open Work invited American artist Sam Lewitt to develop an ambitious project for Frieze 2018.

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Qompendium Editorial

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In 1962 the philosopher Umberto Eco wrote an essay called ‘The Open Work’. Informed by the writings and music of Franz Kafka and James Joyce, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, Eco argued that not all artworks had a definitive meaning. Rather, some artists might embrace the idea of ‘openness’, leaving certain elements of the artwork to chance, or to be completed by the audience. Meanings could be multiple, the conversation could always be open-ended.

Drawing on dialogue with German car manufacturer BMW designers, engineers and technological experts, artists will be able to consider current and future technologies as tools for innovation and artistic experimentation, creating artworks with the potential to unfold across a range of media and exhibiting platforms.

The project premieres yearly at Frieze London unfolding across physical spaces such as the BMW Lounge, the Courtesy Car Service, as well as an online version of it.

Artist Sam Lewitt’s practice investigates the circulation of information and matter, opening up operatively closed systems and institutional structures in the process.

Entitled CORE (the “Work”), Lewitt’s new commission for BMW Open Work focuses on motor engineering and technology, to conceptually and physically explore the production cycle of a BMW engine. Spurred by the artist’s dialogue with BMW engine specialists, CORE uses physical materials and manufacturing techniques from engineering, to re-imagining the engine manufacturing cycle as an engine in itself.

In the process CORE engages with the structure of the commissioning system itself, by addressing relations of symbolic and material exchange within the work’s form.

Lewitt’s new commission unfolds as an installation in the BMW Lounge at Frieze London 2018, a soundscape in the Courtesy Car Service at the fair, and online at


Sam Lewitt

Sam Lewitt is an artist based in New York, USA.
His selected institutional solo exhibitions include: Swiss Institute, New York (2016), Kunsthalle Basel (2016) and The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2015). Selected group exhibitions include Other Mechanisms, Secession, Vienna (2018), Crash Test, La Panacée, Montpellier (2018), the 57th Venice Biennale, Venice (2017), A Slow Succession with Many Interruptions, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2016), Nature after Nature at Fridericianum, Kassel (2014), and Materials and Money and Crisis, MUMOK, Vienna (2013) and the Whitney Biennial (2012).

Attilia Fattori Franchini

Attilia Fattori Franchini is an independent curator and writer based in London. She is co-founder of the not for profit platforms and Opening Times and contributes critical essays and reviews to international publications. Fattori Franchini is currently working on Curva Blu, a residency project in Favignana, Sicily; the curated_by Festival in Vienna, 2018 and will direct the next edition of the Termoli Art Prize, Italy.

Recent projects include: Red Lake at Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia, (CY), 2018; the Emergent section of miart, 2018; ARS17+ at Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 2017; Céu Torto, BFA, São Paulo, BR, 2017; Dawning, Mexico City, MX, 2017; Europa and the Bull, LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina, KO, 2016; Oa4s, Temra and David in 4 parts, Sorbus, Helsinki, 2016; Yves Scherer, Snow White and The Huntsman, Mexico City, 2016; Bold Tendencies 2015, London.

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