angela bulloch collaborates with fine-tuned, supersonic speed machine, rolls royce
Throughout Frieze Art Fair and through the shiny, shiny windows of Berkeley Square’s Rolls Royce showroom, you can currently spot the building blocks of Turner Prize nominee, Angela Bulloch’s installation, Cipher of L.
Photography Nicky J Sims © Getty Images
The renowned artist and luxe automobile company teamed up to create the showrooms' current ghostly mood-lighting in honour of Frieze Art Fair which starts today. A Goldsmith's graduate and member of the Freeze generation of Young British Artists, Angela Bulloch is known for her aesthetically beautiful Pixel Boxes. This time, the Berlin based Canadian created them to mimic the gliding movements and glossy properties of a Rolls Royce motor car. Here Angela tells us about Phantoms, Ghosts and Wraiths…
The pixel box is kind of your signature, how did you incorporate Rolls Royce into it?
Well, they approached me and I'm currently making completely different kind of work, so we had to establish what would be a good collaboration. I looked at the situation and because of the showroom and the window, I thought I could do something like that, but only if I can make the next step in terms of the technical development from lamps into LED. What I have here are the first four-channel, RGBW, international, LED pixel box modules. It's not always so sexy talking about the internal workings of your artwork but that's really what I'm interested in!
Where did the name Cipher of L come from?
I was thinking about some of Rolls Royce's car names. There are three available today and they're called Phantom, Ghost and Wraith. 'Wraith' is just like Scottish/Gaelic for 'ghost', and I'm sure this car showroom is haunted! There's something about the vacuum created in the room by the air-conditioning system and the way that the wind passes straight down this street and the two double doors creating a kind of whistle, howling and hoo-ing and ha-ing like there's a ghost inside here! Gareth made all the wood veneers, which have been applied to the surfaces of the sides and the top. When you look quite long and hard into the knotted, wood veneers on the surfaces of the sides and top, especially the walnut, you can really make out faces. There are always ghouls and ghosts that you see in the wood. They talk about this Spirit of Ecstasy at the front of the car - the name of the sculpture at the front of every Rolls Royce - the spirit is more this kind of ghost-like thing that hovers around everyone. That's what I'm thinking about, that's what I see. There's this other word used to describe how the car moves called 'waftability', because inside that perfect looking car is a great big D12 engine. That's a very powerful car. I've made my piece the same dimensions as the Phantom and chosen certain pieces of veneer rather than others because they've got faces in them. It's also floating just off the ground. There are two different programs inside that, in layers, and I've used two different palettes of colours taken from the bespoke paint - the other thing about the Rolls Royce car is you can choose what you want - this colour, or this type of leather - the many details that go into the making of the car. That was interesting for me as an artist.
What was it like visiting the factory at Goodwood?
It's an extraordinary place full of skillful people making different elements of the car. The hard, heavy metal, dirty part of the building is in making the structure of the car - the framework, the skeleton. That's down south of Munich, in the BMW factory, because Rolls Royce is owned by BMW these days. But all Rolls Royces have to be made in England, so they made this wonderful factory, which you can barely see from above because it's all under grass and totally eco and modern. Other car factories are usually very dirty and much more industrial but this is bespoke, everything is gliding around and it's a totally different thing.
Text Felicity Kinsella
Photography Nicky J Sims © Getty Images