The Audemars Piguet Art Commission: Semiconductor

Semiconductor works with Audemars Piguet for Art Basel

Jun 12, 2018 | By Art Republik

Audemars Piguet Lounge by Sebastian Errazuri. Image courtesy Audemars Piguet.

Merging technological prowess with cutting-edge design, the artist duo behind the latest installment in the Audemars Piguet Art Commission will draw parallels between contemporary art and fine watchmaking with an upcoming major project.

British-based Semiconductor, a twenty-year-old collaboration between artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, will see their groundbreaking new artwork unveiled at Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland this summer as part of the 4th Audemars Piguet Art Commission. Their participation was announced at the preview of Art Basel in Hong Kong, following the unveiling of a new concept for its Collectors’ Lounge by artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz, alongside new artworks by Italian visual artist Quayola.

Photo of Semiconductor. Image courtesy Audemars Piguet.

Since 2015, the commission has seen projects showcased by talents from all around the world, from Swiss artist and composer Robin Meier with his immersive piece ‘Synchronicity’, to Chinese artist Sun Xun, whose installation ‘Reconstruction of the Universe’ — combined traditional mediums such as bamboo, with cutting-edge 3D film technology.

In every commission, a guest curator is invited to select an artist whose vision reflects the essence of the Audemars Piguet personality: precision, complexity and creativity. Drawing inspiration from these, the artist then proposes a project that, facilitated by the company, will eventually be realised and displayed at the Art Basel art fairs, to which Audemars Piguet has been an Associate Partner since 2013 as part of its longtime commitment towards the arts.

Audemars Piguet Lounge by Sebastian Errazuri. Image courtesy Audemars Piguet.

For this upcoming iteration, Semiconductor has collaborated with Mónica Bello, curator and Head of Arts at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. It is not their first time working together — in 2015, the duo participated in an artist residency programme at CERN where they worked closely with Bello during their tenure.

“After working with Ruth and Joe during their time as artists-in-residence at CERN in 2015, I am delighted to be collaborating with them again to realise the 4th Audemars Piguet Art Commission,” said Bello. “It is a great opportunity to merge our scientific and artistic expertise with crafting savoir-faire. Art and science do not work in silos and as it turns out, neither does watchmaking.”

Audemars Piguet Lounge by Sebastian Errazuri. Image courtesy Audemars Piguet.

The duo in question boldly embraces science and technology, having no qualms about merging their technical knowledge with their artistic work. Disruptive yet visually engaging, their moving-image works delve into the materiality of our world, questioning how science and technology mediate and distort our experiences. Reflecting a curiosity for the unknown and a compulsion towards beauty, the duo aims to discover the human identity through the unknown, translating their observations into tangible and beautiful forms.

Inspired by their experiences in leading science laboratories around the world — such as the NASA Space Sciences Laboratory the duo draws on the multifaceted perspectives they have seen and experienced through the years; of how humans understand and regard the material world. Their work has been displayed in permanent collections around the world, such as leading contemporary art museum Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Audemars Piguet Lounge by Sebastian Errazuri. Image courtesy Audemars Piguet.

Olivier Audemars, Vice President of the Board of Directors, said: “I am confident Semiconductor will bring a new level of scientific expertise to the Art Commission.” He added, “It is incredible to discern the parallels between their craft and ours, one of the many reasons we continue to collaborate with artists.”

Art Basel will run from 14 to 17 June in Basel, Switzerland.

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This article was written by Ilyda Chua for Art Republik 19.

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