Watch This Artist Use a Robotic Arm to Create an Eerie, Life-Size Tree for Art Basel’s Collectors Lounge

International artists explore the roots of creativity in new artworks for this exclusive lounge.

The first reports from this year’s Art Basel have proven, once again, that the art world is enjoying yet another world-class exposition of creativity and craftsmanship. In a celebration of these guiding principles, the luxury Swiss watch manufacturer, Audemars Piguet, is unveiling an immersive art display created in collaboration with two international artists, to be presented at the famous fair’s Collectors Lounge.

The genesis of the work, commissioned by Piguet as part of its art patronage program, is the relationship that art has to technology, and to the natural world. Artist Sebastian Errazuriz presents Second Nature, his second commission for the Swiss company sponsored lounge in Art Basel.

The work is a sculpted branch inspired by native Swiss spruce trees that grow in the Valléé de Joux of the Jura Mountains, where the watchmaking industry was born more than two centuries ago. The sculpture is a result of highly mechanized technology—robotic arms carved the elegant limb based on CAD drawings—and labor-intensive craftsmanship. Errazuriz hand carved the detailed grain to resemble that found in nature.

The fusion of technology and craftsmanship is the driving force behind Audemars Piguet’s meticulously crafted time-pieces. Second Nature is a testament to the family-run company’s deep-seated roots and commitment to creativity.

A still from Cheng Ran's Circadian Rhythm (2017). Courtesy of Audemars Piguet Lounge, Art Basel.

A still from Cheng Ran’s Circadian Rhythm (2017). Courtesy of Audemars Piguet Lounge, Art Basel.

As a counterpoint to Errazuriz’s work, a new video art piece by Mongolian-born artist Cheng Ran takes an alternative approach to rendering the natural environment. His piece Circadian Rhythm explores the biological process—essentially the internal clock—that informs the sleep-wake cycles of all living beings.

Using advanced video and sound technology, Ran’s visualization of time-keeping is a truly imaginative translation of the watchmaker’s role. Look for it in Basel.

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