Stanislaw Trzebinski creates a custom artwork for the new BMW Z4 Roadster

Sculptor Stanislaw Trzebinski has created a two-dimensional custom design to wrap around the new BMW Z4 Roadster for his solo show, In the Absence of Light (26 July – 7 November 2019). The artwork is based on Trzebinski’s interpretation of Turing patterns, created using the algorithms of growth found in natural forms such as coral.


With its powerful driving dynamics and progressive, open-top design, the Z4 appears to almost come alive enveloped in Trzebinski’s artwork. For good reason: it mimics the pattern found in nature and biology. These are called “Turing patterns” after the English mathematician Alan Turing, who in 1952 came up with a theory explaining how natural patterns such as stripes, spots and spirals, like those of the zebra, cheetah, brain coral and giant pufferfish, occur naturally. This theory, called the reaction–diffusion theory of morphogenesis, has served as a basic model in theoretical biology.

The fascinating thing is that Turing’s work has even deeper application beyond chemistry and biochemistry. “It has been invoked to explain how sand ripples form, how ants dispose of dead bodies, how termites build their nests, and why crime is focused in ‘hotspots’,” writes Philip Ball in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry World. 

Turing patterns are a central fascination for Trzebinski, whose work is intimately connected with natural forms, particularly those found in the ocean. Born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, Trzebinski spent his childhood escaping the bustle of Nairobi to explore the wilderness of the Rift Valley and the Swahili coast. Immersed as much in its rich cultural heritage of Arabic, African and European influences as in the beauty of its biodiversity, he learnt to speak fluent Kiswahili and track animals. As a young boy, apart from tending to his menagerie of 70 animals, he spent summers diving off the tropical Indian Ocean, famous for its mangroves, coral reefs and marine life.

Many of the works in In the Absence of Light include the organic pattern, whether etched in brass, cast in bronze or illuminated in glow-in-the-dark epoxy. Installed in the gallery, the Z4 blends in with the artist’s rich tactile world of natural wonders – a fitting way to illustrate the immersive driving experience it offers.

This is the latest in a series of unique collaborations between Southern Guild and BMW South Africa, grounded in a common commitment to forward-thinking design and creative excellence.



    * indicates required