Artist Wen-Chi Su Danced With Light, Water, and La Prairie at Art Basel Miami Beach

The Swiss skincare house commissioned a performance work from the Taiwanese artist as the latest of its Art Basel activations around the world.

Wen Chi Su, Moving Towards the Horizon, commissioned by La Prairie for Art Basel Miami Beach. Courtesy of La Prairie.

La Prairie made waves at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, and not only by opening its first-ever pop-up beach club. The luxury Swiss skincare house also commissioned a special performance piece from Taiwanese dancer, choreographer, and new media artist Wen-Chi Su.

Inspired by the Miami coastline and the resplendent nature of Switzerland, Moving Towards the Horizon had its premiere on the sands of Miami Beach at sunset on December 1, with the public opening the following evening.

The audience watched Su perform from La Prairie's pop-up beach club. Courtesy of La Prairie.

The audience watched Su perform from La Prairie’s pop-up beach club. Courtesy of La Prairie.

The artist views dance as a practice in direct alignment with time, both as an art form and a field of scientific study, while connecting the human body with the natural environment. “I thought about time a lot in this piece,” she said in a statement from the brand. “The body is never still or unchanged. It is constantly moving, changing, flowing—like water. In live performance, we say time is ephemeral.”

Su’s main inspiration for Moving Towards the Horizon came from moments of light encountering water. Captivated by the sun’s dance across the sprawling lakes of Switzerland, where she spent part of the summer with La Prairie, Su began to explore how she could create a sense of “liquidity” by way of movement, interpreting the elements with her body.

Su before the premiere of <em>Moving Towards the Horizon</em>. Courtesy of La Prairie

Su before the premiere of Moving Towards the Horizon. Courtesy of La Prairie

“For this dance, I am much slower than normal,” she said. “Water naturally flows fast, but it is good to slow down—to experience the shape of each minute, each second. This gaze of slowness, a time freeze, is an opportunity for us humans to be reflective.”

Su’s performance began just as the sun came down over the Atlantic, with the multihued evening sky as a surreal backdrop. A circular, reflective stage sat atop the sand, adding dimensionality to the artist’s figure and the surrounding landscape.

Su danced as the sun set over the Atlantic. Courtesy of La Prairie.

Su danced as the sun set over the Atlantic. Courtesy of La Prairie.

As she began, the lull of waves poetically contrasted with her meticulous, kinetic movement—a dance that physically and emotionally encapsulated light and water, art and science.

The artist also aimed to convey the idea of technological innovation while drawing attention to the evolution of our relationship with machines, and how these daily interactions shift our conception of time. For Su, the work was an invitation for viewers to reposition themselves within the natural world.

The artist during her premiere performance. Courtesy of La Prairie.

The artist during her premiere performance. Courtesy of La Prairie.

“I want[ed] to create a moment where people can contemplate how time flows, a story where you become sensitive to nature and focus on the horizon, a universe where you dive into a different space and time and the world slows down,” she said.

La Prairies’s ethos of pursuing timeless beauty echoes the artist’s pursuits. Indeed, Su’s work also celebrates the latest innovation in La Prairie’s White Caviar collection, White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire—a new product that promotes luminous complexions by pushing the boundaries of Swiss-inspired, science-based skincare—debuting in March 2022.

The Swiss skincare brand's soon-to-launch White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire. Courtesy of La Prairie.

The Swiss skincare brand’s soon-to-launch White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire. Courtesy of La Prairie.

Meanwhile, the brand’s commitment to providing a platform for emerging artists is ongoing. This project is one of many—La Prairie has served as an Art Basel sponsor since 2017, commissioning artistic collaborations for its fairs everywhere from Miami to Hong Kong. The company is particularly focused on championing and supporting female artists such as Su, whose work pushes the boundaries of art and science while simultaneously bridging them.

“Since the inception of La Prairie, contemporary art—through a plethora of genres, cultures, and profiles—has been an elevated prism in which to tell our story,” said Greg Prodromides, Global Chief Marketing Officer, in a statement from the brand. “This latest collaboration with Wen-Chi Su was a natural and authentic one. Her mesmerizing performance beautifully and simultaneously articulates the science of movement and the concept of time through the prism of the natural elements found in Switzerland.”

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