At Art Basel Hong Kong, Two Artists Team Up With Audemars Piguet to Transform a VIP Lounge Into a 3-D-Printed Wonderland
The lounge showcased the latest in an ongoing collaboration with contemporary artists exploring notions of time.
As crowds cruise the art-filled aisles of the convention center for Art Basel in Hong Kong, the VIP Collectors lounge offers guests the opportunity to relax and catch up while sipping a glass of champagne. But before they even get there, many are first drawn to the alluring and elaborate mini-lounge of Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet located inside.
For the latest in an ongoing series of artistic collaborations, Chilean artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz and Italian artist Quayola have transformed the space into a somewhat fantastical hideaway with their respective creations, which further serve as the backdrop for Audemars Piguet’s highly trained watchmakers to demonstrate their craft. Both artists were on hand to discuss their latest lounge creations with artnet News.
This is Errazuriz’s third time collaborating with the luxury watchmaker, making it, in his words, “the final part of a trilogy.” The installation titled “Foundations” is inspired by iron ore, which, as the artist notes, is the most abundant natural resource found in the watchmaker’s home in the Vallée de Joux. His immersive installation suspends roughly 500 3-D-printed, scanned, and hand-molded rocks from the valley. They rotate and move in “perfect harmony,” according to a statement from Audemars Piguet.
Errazuriz explained to artnet News that when he first began working with Audemars Piguet and spent a week in the valley, he learned that long ago, the area was often cut off from the world for about six months of each year because of the amount of snow and ice on the roads. “So, I thought, well, these guys are known for the complexities of their mechanisms. It’s logical that you could focus on that sort of craft if you can’t go anywhere. I see a connection to being an artist: I’m stuck in the studio for months or a year before I’m finished with a work and you don’t want to show it until it’s ready.”
Thus, his first collaboration focused on ice and snow, he says, while the second was centered on an installation of an elaborately carved tree. Errazuriz says in today’s era where we technically don’t need a watch anymore—due to cell phones, microwaves, car clocks—he sees yet another connection between watchmaking and fine art. “If you like watches, what you really like is the engineering. For these guys to work six months on something? It’s an exhaustive process, and it’s very similar to art.”
Quayola also finds ample connections between concepts of time and his own work. For his part, the connection comes through the way he centers on landscapes and the concept of “opposing forces, be they new or old, real or imagined.”
For Remains: Vallée de Joux, the artist used advanced software, computer technology, and programming to produce high-precision laser prints. These large-scale black-and-white images at times appear to have an infrared quality that makes them vibrate with energy; trees sometimes appear to be exploding or shedding copious amounts of snow.
“It’s almost like taking the eye of the machine to look at these primordial places and rediscover them from a different perspective,” Quayola explained.
Sebastian Errazuriz’s Foundations and Quayola’s Remains: Vallée de Joux are on view at Audemars Piguet inside the Collectors Lounge at Art Basel Hong Kong through March 31
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