With Audemars Piguet, art meets the sea. This is the hallmark and the key to understanding Lunar Ensemble for Uprising Seas. Commissioned by TBA21-Academy and Audemars Piguet Contemporary, this installation takes centre stage in Venice inside the historic deconsecrated church of San Lorenzo. (Here all our posts about Audemars Piguet)
Audemars Piguet and the art world
With this initiative, the house in Le Brassus further strengthens its ties with the art world. This is an area in which the watchmaker has been active for some time, especially as a partner alongside Art Basel, the most important exhibition in the sector, which is held every year in Basel, Miami, Singapore and, from 2022, also in Paris.
But the commitment of the Swiss maison embraces a broader vision that goes far beyond the logic of combining its name with a fair dedicated to the art world. Indeed, with Audemars Piguet Contemporary, it plays an active role and sets itself the goal of commissioning international artists to create contemporary works of art, fostering a global community of creators and enabling the artists themselves to explore new territories in their creative practices.
Works by Petrit Halilaj and Álvaro Urbano
A path that, in the case of Petrit Halilaj and Álvaro Urbano, took the form of 30 large sculptures of aquatic, terrestrial and aerial hybrid creatures placed under an egg-shaped moon that seems to have the same materiality as the walls of the deconsecrated church. The installation is inspired by a popular song in Spain entitled Ay mi pescadito, in which young fish go to school at the bottom of the sea to study forms of survival and belonging. The artists have created an installation that explores cohesion, resistance or disharmony between different species or between living organisms and objects.
Unreal sculptures that turn into musical instruments
The sculptures vary in size and shape, and none of the creatures are realistic. All are in a state of evolution with a mix of characteristics to survive underwater, on land and in the sky. The metal cladding of the sculptures reflects sunlight on the walls, ceilings and floors of the church, changing the perception of space throughout the day. Each sculpture is transformed into a musical instrument, producing sounds through music boxes and other craft techniques, but only human interaction brings it to life through sound.
Together, they try to create a ‘melody’ inspired by the song Ay mi pescadito and underwater noises, which are not easily harmonised. The difficulty of achieving a perfect melody mirrors the complexity of creating perfect synchrony in the material world. “The work confuses our binary sense of the world. An egg-shaped moon, aquatic creatures that become terrestrial and aerial, an orchestra playing a symphony that emerges from the water and synchronises with the cycles of the moon: these and other stories guide our exhibition at Ocean Space.
The installation picks up on a children’s song, in which young fish go to school at the bottom of the sea to study forms of resistance,’ the two artists emphasise. The exhibition will be enlivened by musical performances and the presence of performers whose contribution adds value to the exhibition experience.
Audemars Piguet and the Oceans
“It has been a real pleasure to accompany the development of this new installation, Lunar Ensemble for Uprising Seas, jointly conceived by Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano with the support of their Berlin studio, as well as to collaborate with the curatorial team of Audemars Piguet Contemporary. From the Ocean we can learn that the relationships between living beings and ecosystems are plural, fluid and constantly changing.
Getting in tune with this movement is essential to imagine and build alternative futures. Artists invite us to synchronise our actions to practice new forms of union,’ adds Barbara Casavecchia, curator of Thus waves as in pairs at TBA21-Academy. Sea, art and the world of time. On closer inspection, these are three elements that have given Audemars Piguet’s watchmaking vision a major boost.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: 150 years of success
Suffice it to say that last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak. Considered a true watchmaking icon, this timepiece was born from the inspiration of Gérald Genta. A distinctive feature is the octagonal bezel fixed with eight hexagonal screws on the case inspired, and herein lies Genta’s ingenious intuition and powers of observation, by the helmet used by divers to descend underwater.
This year, however, it is the turn of the Royal Oak Offshore to celebrate an important anniversary. The iconic collection has reached the 30-year mark. And in this case too, the sea has played its part, starting with the word offshore, which evokes the world of offshore racing. Launched for the first time in 1993, this timepiece, thanks mainly to its large size, took little time to become a reference point, winning the attention of a new generation of watchmaking enthusiasts. But we will talk about this, in more detail, in the near future.