Two artists worked under the fair and art patron watchmaker’s shared ethos of creativity and craftsmanship in the creation of a large-scale installation reserved for the VIP collector’s lounge at Art Basel – however, collectors who visited Art Basel’s Hong Kong fair will already have gotten a glimpse of it.
Chilean Sebastien Errazuriz’s Second Nature marks his second Piguet-commissioned work, and consists of a branch inspired by Swiss spruce trees from the Jura mountain area, where Piguet originated. “I wanted to create a tree […] that was unique in its shape and identity,” Errazuriz explains in a video depicting the production. Made by robotic-armed machinery from detailed sketches, CAD drawings, the artist details a process that in essence involves deconstructing a real tree in order to mimetically reproduce a tree through technology and modern day craftsmanship. By first cutting down a tree, removing the bark and separating it into blocks, Errazuriz then glued it back together with machinery to “create a tree that does not exist.” Errazuriz then laboriously hand-carved every grain down to the millimetre, he claims, “a level of detail where you’re only dreaming of replicating nature.”
The second work is a video piece by Mongolian Cheng Ran, who likewise fuses technology and nature in Circadian Rhythm, which explores the internal biological clock that dictates sleep cycles. However, the tone takes a darker turn – nature plays second fiddle to technology, seeming almost powered by it. Nature adopts a markedly synthetic sensation. Depicting various chromatically vivid landscapes – rushing water, crystals, caves, forests – in combination with a minimal electronic beat combined animal sounds and chimes, the scenery appears to be a staged set as backgrounds and foregrounds disappear and return as the lights flicker on and off, in keeping with the beat of the ambient music.
Art Basel runs 15-18 June at Messe Basel, Switzerland. For more information visit artbasel.com