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BMW partners with Carl Freedman Gallery for Ronan Mckenzie-curated Exhibition To Be Held


Jul 7, 2023
  • BMW announces collaboration with Carl Freedman Gallery in Margate for the group exhibition ‘To Be Held,’ curated by London-born artist Ronan Mckenzie.
  • The all-electric BMW i7’s luxurious materials are incorporated into the gallery space, enhancing the exhibition experience.
  • Exhibition open to the public until 25 June, Wednesday to Sunday, featuring 22 emerging UK and US artists and furniture designers.

BMW has a longstanding commitment to fostering the arts and culture, boasting a global arts program that spans well over five decades. As part of its ongoing commitment to support emerging talent, BMW is proud to announce a collaboration with Carl Freedman Gallery for their significant group exhibition ‘To Be Held,’ curated by Ronan Mckenzie.


Margate is developing into a cultural hub for young contemporary artists. Carl Freedman Gallery London was founded in 2003 by Carl Freedman, and in 2019 he opened the Margate Gallery. The gallery became a part of the future of the town’s artistic regeneration.

London-born multidisciplinary artist, Ronan Mckenzie, envisions a space at the gallery that embodies the essence of what it means “to see and be seen, to be enveloped by an environment that encourages one to feel and be felt, to find solace in the assurance of acceptance, and to depart by choice, when one decides.” Mckenzie’s curation of ‘To Be Held’ brings together 19 artists, 15 from the UK and four from the US, and three furniture designers, offering them the opportunity to connect with new audiences.

The recently launched all-electric BMW i7 plays a pivotal role in this collaboration, showcasing innovative design, cutting-edge technology and offering a luxurious and comfortable setting, a central theme for the exhibition. Cashmere textiles from the BMW i7 interior seats will be incorporated into the exhibition space.

A special episode of Talk Art has been recorded where hosts Russell Tovey and Robert Diament, along with Ronan Mckenzie, guide listeners through a curated tour of the exhibition and explore how design should not solely focus on aesthetics, but also consider the emotional impact it has on individuals – a differentiator in both the design of the BMW i7 and the exhibition itself. Mckenzie says, “Both BMW and my foundations have developed instinctively through the attention to tactility and texture, fabrication, sound, and an interest in activating multiple senses to shape emotional responses and experiences.”.

The podcast also features an interview with Corinna Exner, BMW Group UI/UX Designer, who designed My Mode in the BMW i7 and is deeply passionate about the convergence of emotions and technology. Exner adds: “At BMW, we think a lot about human emotions. The driver enters our car with their individual history and personal feelings. We want to contain them, protect them and be there for them. The interior is made to hold human beings. To support all emotions and give joy. This intention is visible in all details in the car – in the geometry, the materials and in our My Mode Experiences.” The Talk Art podcast can be listened to in full on major podcast platforms (Spotify | Apple).

Ahead of the gallery opening, acclaimed English-Pakistani photographer Tami Aftab shot Ronan Mckenzie alongside the BMW i7 at the Carl Freedman Gallery in Margate, capturing all the key elements of the collaboration.

The exhibition runs for eight weeks from 30 April to 25 June 2023 and is open to the public for free every Wednesday to Sunday. For further information, please see https://carlfreedman.com/exhibitions/2023/to-be-held-curated-by-ronan-mckenzie/.

By admin