Betsabeé Romero

Monumental installation – Main entrance of the Grand Palais

A Requiem to the Polluting Car, 2019
Silk screen print on velvet car cover, Jaguar S-type, 2 car-lifts, 14 painted bicycles, represented by Galería Saro Léon, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

As part of her quest for identity and cultural roots, Mexican artist Bestabeé Romero has been working with the car and its components since at least 1997, when she placed her first automobile-inspired work, The Ayate Car, at the border between Mexico and the USA. Romero’s artistic practice is a reflection on identity and on the transformational processes that culture and tradition are undergoing in this era of globalization. Even if she draws most of her inspiration from the Mexican background she was raised and lives in, her artistic signature also bears the sign of an international exposure. In the late 1980s, Romero studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, and over the past decades her work has brought her to frequent travels and collaborations with local, grassroots communities around the world.

"The car, as Romero explains, is more symbolic of power and of class than a vehicle of speed and movement; the car is more of a fragile and accident-prone space than one of safety and infallible technology”; it is “the pollutant of a world where petroleum generates the dynamics of oppression and war.”

Fascinated by these inner contradictions, in her work Romero recycles old or broken cars, tires, and hoods which have lost their original function associated with speed and technology and, intervening with colorful textiles, embroideries, or applications of tiles and paint, “domesticates” them into more feminine spaces of meditation and reflection.

The monumental installation A Requiem to the Polluting Car conceived by Romero for Art Paris is a tribute to the fundamental ecological decision taken by a few forward-looking contemporary metropolises like Paris to progressively abandon the polluting car, emblematic of egoism, individualism and the consumeristic society, in favour of alternative, more ecological and modest means of transportation, like the bicycle. The artist visualizes this historical, watershed moment by presenting a funeral procession of bicycles honouring the dead car, dressed up for the occasion.

As Romero points out, it is first necessary to bury the polluting car, and to do so with all of the required social honors, in order to be able to foster a new mind-set and support the invention of alternative and ecological means of transportation for our future. VL

With the support of:


Stand B0

As part of its partnership with Art Paris, for several years now IDEAT Magazine has been publishing a special March edition focussing on the exhibitions at the Grand Palais during the event. This year, IDEAT has decided to take an active role in the programme by organising an exhibition of collectible design on its very own stand.

Are designers the new artists of the 21st century?

Judging by the ever more numerous design fairs around the world and their appeal to contemporary art collectors, it is obvious that the borders between art and design are more porous than ever before. For several years now, specialised galleries have officially positioned themselves on the art market, featuring in sales at major auction houses and displaying their expertise in the field. Yes we could retort that design is about function, but it certainly is not devoid of emotion. And that’s why IDEAT has decided to present a selection of design furniture at Art Paris 2019 from around a dozen galleries, including Gosserez, Kostia, BSL and Maria Wettergren, which will highlight the talents of a discipline with a bright future.

Betsabeé Romero, A Requiem to the Polluting Car, 2019, projet d'installation, entrée du Grand Palais, courtesy Galería Saro León, Las Palmas
  • Betsabeé Romero, A Requiem to the Polluting Car, 2019, projet d'installation, entrée du Grand Palais, courtesy Galería Saro León, Las Palmas