Audemars Piguet’s In-Property Curators on the Luxurious Watchmaker’s Art Commissions

In these turbulent times, creativeness and empathy are additional important than ever to bridge divides and find remedies. Artnet News’s Art and Empathy Undertaking is an ongoing investigation into how the artwork earth can assistance greatly enhance emotional intelligence, drawing insights and inspiration from creatives, considered leaders, and great works of artwork. 


Wonderful watchmaking and the arts have a prolonged parallel record. In fantastic illustrations of both, craft, history, and certain absorbing information acquire centre stage, producing solid psychological reactions in art and observe lovers alike. 

The Swiss luxury enjoy property Audemars Piguet—one of the oldest watch corporations in the entire world, set up by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in 1875—has for numerous many years operate an artwork program, Audemars Piguet Present-day, that exists separately from its watchmaking initiative, aiming to assistance artists from close to the planet in their endeavors to examine lived activities of all forms. 

To go over the method, the one-way links amongst horology and present-day artwork, and how artwork can help viewers boost their psychological intelligence, Artnet News spoke with Audemars Piguet’s in-residence art curators, Audrey Teichmann and Denis Pernet. 

What drew you to your roles at Audemars Piguet?

Audrey: I joined Audemars Piguet last calendar year just after a few several years doing work as a curator in architecture for Villa Noailles in France and also for Galerie Laurence Bernard in Geneva, so I experienced experience in transdisciplinary arts and supporting artists by the gallery spectrum. Right before that, I labored in research, like Denis, at HEAD, a style university in Geneva, in which I was capable to observe the get the job done of art and style and design college students and check out to share significant points of perspective on topics that are pretty crucial to the cultural instant, which I really liked.

I truly preferred that with AP, you could help artists with carte blanche, and give them opportunities that they may possibly not otherwise have. It is important for us to be radical, and to have a exercise that genuinely respects the core of the study and the diversity of positions that artists characterize now.

Denis: I joined in 2018. For a prolonged time, I was a curator at the Up to date Art Center in Geneva, exactly where I was primarily accomplishing solo exhibitions and developing new artworks. Then for several a long time, I was undertaking exploration and freelance get the job done as an impartial curator. Like Audrey, I was definitely joyful to be a part of a method these as AP’s that’s very concentrated on supporting new output and creating jobs with the artists we work with. 

Installation view of Cao Fei's Isle of Instability (2020) commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary, on view at West Bund Art & Design, Shanghai. Image courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

Set up check out of Cao Fei’s Isle of Instability (2020) commissioned by Audemars Piguet Present-day, on watch at West Bund Art & Design and style, Shanghai. Image courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

How does the plan perform?

Denis: What we do is guidance international artists by commissioning new artworks from them. We enable them make a decision what they want to do—maybe they want to redevelop a project they didn’t get to do nevertheless or reimagine it as some thing extra ambitious or some thing new. We assist variety in our artist selection—they can be rising or mid-vocation or far more proven if the guidance tends to make perception. The artwork belongs to the artist so it is aspect of their system of their do the job and will ultimately be exhibited with their other initiatives and in long term reveals. We also follow the enhancement of the venture from inception to the initial presentation and exhibition. We’re quite satisfied to accompany the artist later on, far too, if they have one more opportunity to existing the operate and will need our help.

Audrey: Also, it is critical to point out that we are co-curators in residence, and it’s not only monetary assist that we deliver, but a curatorial dialogue as very well. That is why we mention the point that it is a very long-expression romantic relationship: it is significant to go further than the speedy collaboration, to abide by the presentation of the artwork, and to support the artist in the continuation of their occupations. 

What types of artworks have you overseen a short while ago and what do you have planned for this 12 months? 

Audrey: We have two sorts of courses in just the larger software.

The Audemars Piguet Artwork Commission is just one of the plans, a levels of competition that takes spot just about every two decades in which we invite a guest curator who is an specialist in his or her region to take part. With their steering, we find an artist. They then generate a huge-scale artwork most of the time, it is a initial attempt at a project of that scale—we are likely to guidance artists who are not but internationally identified, and that’s really crucial to us. We’re doing the job on our fifth commission at the second, and it’s likely to be held in April and May well in Hong Kong. We’re performing with two Hong Kong-based persons, Ying Kwok—she was the curator of the Hong Kong pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale—and the artist she picked, Phoebe Hui. Her apply is research-centered, and the venture she’s undertaking for us is called The Moon Is Leaving Us. It’s a great job, a poetic interpretation of the truth that the moon is slowly but absolutely migrating away from the earth. And our portion is to facilitate dialogue about it and support her deepen her research—for example, we aided her to satisfy with a previous astronaut and presented a lot of details that was vital for her, which include info we pulled on the mutable regulations of the universe and how they could be best represented visually. 

Denis: The other software we have is called Studio Audemars Piguet.

For that a single, we go straight to an proven artist and propose him or her to create a commissioned artwork, no matter what they want to do. We accompany them from the improvement of the strategy to the exhibition. A couple yrs in the past, for instance, we experienced a discussion with the Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda. He had a really bold and a minor little bit outrageous concept of accomplishing a trilogy of video clip will work referred to as knowledge-verse. It was going to translate in illustrations or photos all the knowledge that human society has generated, from the microscopic—for case in point, the quark on the inside of an atom—to the macroscopic.

We were really delighted to aid him present the initial component of the trilogy, which was proven in the international exhibition of the 2019 Venice Biennale, curated by Ralph Rugoff. We then experienced the opportunity to present the to start with and next variants in tandem at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany previous November as two huge, synchronised assignments. And now in London, at 180 the Strand, the 3rd variation and the total trilogy is prepared to be offered in the same place. It’s not open up still, but we hope it will debut in March or April. 

 Ying Kwok and Phoebe Hui in the artist’s Hong Kong studio. Images courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

Ying Kwok and Phoebe Hui in the artist’s Hong Kong studio. Photographs courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

How do you eventually decide which artists to operate with?

Audrey: Basically, it is about the interests of the artists and their tactics, their contributions to the up to date art discourse today and also the variety of positions they stand for. Partaking with all this is also why we work with invited curators—most of the time they have an desire in unique concerns that are very essential to the locations they stand for. They are really associated and delicate to the evolution of the particular artwork scenes they come from and the artists they’re fascinated in doing work with. 

Denis: In addition to the impartial curators, we seek advice from our colleagues, also. We’re a corporation that’s existing in numerous countries, which is also why we’re so intrigued in artwork from a world standpoint. We collaborate with our worldwide colleagues frequently—for occasion, we worked with our colleagues in China to do anything at the West Bund Art & Design reasonable past 12 months, the place we experienced the great chance to fee a perform by Cao Fei. We also try out to function with artists who can deliver a selected critique or position of perspective on the planet we live in nowadays and how to better recognize it and consider what the foreseeable future may well search like. Subjects we return to all over again and all over again are technological innovation, science, and cultural identification. We’re also performing with the Norwegian artist Jana Winderen whose work covers a variety of environmental troubles and seeks to increase recognition about the ways in which we deal with the planet and its living creatures. Research-based mostly techniques are in particular intriguing and pleasing to us.

How do you view the similarities and differences concerning fantastic art and horology? 

 Audrey: The place we see affinities is truly in the desire of likely past a to start with impact or a initially glimpse, which is applicable to both equally worlds. You know, fine watchmaking has such a degree of refinement that you can seriously appreciate discovering about horology as a kind of science all its personal it’s packed with record, science and stories of craftsmanship. And the similar goes for modern artwork. The a lot more you know about it, the additional you understand it. 

Denis: We’re also always on the lookout for distinctive perspectives in how both of those practices can provide price to lived encounters in modern society. We like to introduce that dialogue to equally artwork enthusiasts and watch lovers and engage them in a discussion. 

How has partaking with artists and art shaped how you work and how you imagine about the work you do? 

Audrey: It’s an attention-grabbing question because we’re by no means really working on your own. It is a occupation in which you have to communicate a lot considering the fact that practically just about every portion of it is collaborative. It has also designed me delicate to the reality that carrying out this variety of function is about eternal improve and mutability and the evolution of get the job done, from its inception to its realization. It can make you problem your very own tips all the time.

Denis: What has usually impressed me is how economical and quickly artists can be and how they acquire constraints and offer with them in very creative, effective ways. It is amazing to see how swiftly artists visualize remedies, which also leaves a lot of time for the philosophical component of the work. I actually enjoy the balance concerning the practicalities of finishing and then showing an artwork, and the motivation to speak about the issue issue which typically focuses on more substantial existence matters that we all expend a lot of time contemplating about. 

Ryoji Ikeda’s immersive audiovisual exhibition at 180 The Strand in London. Photo courtesy Jack Hems and Audemars Piguet.

Ryoji Ikeda’s immersive audiovisual exhibition at 180 The Strand in London. Photo courtesy Jack Hems and Audemars Piguet.

Psychological intelligence is a thing we’ve been chatting a whole lot about in the Artnet offices, looking at the divisive instances we’re in now. Can artwork be used to train empathy and compassion, and maybe lend us a higher understanding of the world? 

Audrey: If you search at emotional intelligence as anything that assesses your potential to realize yourself and many others, we really believe that art is a person of the greatest strategies to engage men and women in that discussion. How we pick the perform we show is extremely significantly centered on how you working experience it, so we opt for art primarily based on the strength and assortment of thoughts it procures, from pleasure to sorrow to hope. We are convinced that these approaches of questioning and discussing art can deepen someone’s psychological intelligence.  

Denis: We also are inclined to opt for artists that are really intrigued in these issues them selves and how they apply to issues bordering social and environmental concerns and issues of identity. I think constantly staying all around artwork in our qualified life has actually enhanced our have senses of empathy, much too.

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