Swiss Haute Horology brand Audemars Piguet celebrated the launch of the Audemars Piguet Art Commission at an exclusive dinner to coincide with the opening of Art Basel in Basel 2014. Marking the announcement of leading art world figure, Marc-Olivier Wahler as the first guest curator for their new commissioning project, the event was also attended by Mathieu Lehanneur who has designed Audemars Piguet’s striking new lounge concept for their spaces in Art Basel’s Collectors’ Lounge. The dinner was attended by 100 guests including collectors, artists, gallerists and curators from around the globe who enjoyed dishes from the awarded ‘World’s Best Restaurant’ El Celler de Can Roca.
Jasmine Audemars, Chairwoman of the Audemars Piguet Board and member of one of the founding families, welcomed attendees to the event and outlined Audemars Piguet’s expanding activities in the sphere of contemporary art, saying: “Audemars Piguet has always sought to integrate creative vision with superb artistry and technical mastery. We feel our partnership with Art Basel echoes our core values and is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our heritage as a family-owned company with a long standing history committed to the finest traditions in watchmaking.” Introducing Marc-Olivier Wahler as the first guest curator for the project she described how “the Audemars Piguet Art Commission will support artists in the creation of new works which explore relationships between contemporary creative practice and complex mechanics, technology,
Guests were treated to a gastronomic experience featuring dishes made by celebrated chefs, the Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca, flown to Basel for the event from Girona, Spain. Presented in 2013 with the award of the “World’s Best Restaurant,” it is renowned for creating a unique epicurean experience for guests exploring the boundaries between art and food.
Marc-Olivier Wahler has been invited by the brand to work with the first artist selected for the Audemars Piguet Art Commission on the production of a major new artwork to be unveiled at Art Basel in 2015. Growing up in Switzerland, Wahler has a strong connection to the traditions and evolution of the Swiss Haute Horology that Audemars Piguet represents while also bringing the experience of organising over 400 exhibitions around the world during the last 20 years.
As Associate Partner of Art Basel, Audemars Piguet also presented the latest evolution of Mathieu Lehanneur’s new lounge concept for the Audemars Piguet stand in the Collectors’ Lounge along with a panoramic video work entitled “MEASURE” by Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger. Unveiled in Hong Kong in May 2014, the new design concept entitled “MINERAL LAB” explores the themes of technology versus nature. Kurt Hentschläger’s video work features the captivating landscape that has played an influential role in shaping the story of Audemars Piguet and the development of fine watchmaking. Lehanneur’s designs will bring the captivating landscape of the home of Audemars Piguet, which has played such a key part in both the brand's history and its legacy of craftsmanship, to the upcoming Art Basel show in Miami Beach later this year. Mathieu Lehanneur, was also in attendance at the event to celebrate with Audemars Piguet.
As the centerpiece of the Audemars Piguet booth the brand features a selection of exceptional historic and contemporary timepieces. The exhibition includes a retrospective of the iconic Royal Oak Offshore 42 mm collection alongside other important pieces from the brand’s origins in the 19th century until today. Next to the iconic timepieces was a watchmaker’s bench that gained a great deal of attention from visitors. Two watchmakers were on hand during the fair to show guests the secrets of Audemars Piguet’s delicate polishing process.
The new Audemars Piguet lounge for Art Basel 2014 will next be presented at Art Basel in Miami Beach from December 4-7, 2014.