Episode 02

Art & Science: A Meeting of the Minds

By Whitewall
Whitewall Presents, November 30, 2018
Chapter 1

A Partnership with Art Basel Begins

La PrairiePaul Coudamy

Two years ago, La Prairie embarked on a new venture that would further link the worlds of science and art. By partnering with the leading international fair Art Basel, the Swiss luxury skincare brand opened a bold new chapter in creativity and discovery—collaborating with contemporary artists.

Their first foray into commissioning a project from an artist debuted at Art Basel in 2017, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of La Prairie’s Skin Caviar collection. For that, they tapped Paris-based Paul Coudamy to create a unique installation that was the focal point of their pavilion within the fair’s Collector’s Lounge.

Coudamy found inspiration in La Prairie’s cellular research, created Living Cells, a geometric structure that used the Weaire-Phelan mathematical formula—referencing volume—as source material. Made from white lacquered laser cut steel, he utilized black magnetic marbles to create clusters that cling to a towering form, calling to mind caviar, one of the skincare brand’s key ingredients that is also synonymous with luxury.

La PrairieCourtesy of La Prairie
La PrairieCourtesy of La Prairie

“We are very excited about this first-of-its-kind collaboration that we feel perfectly embodies La Prairie’s intrinsic link with the world of art,” said Greg Prodromides, Chief Marketing Officer of La Prairie Group at the time. “In using precious caviar in its formulations, La Prairie continues to break the codes of luxury skincare, just as these talented artists go beyond the limits of the imagination. And just as their works begin with an audacious vision, so too does every La Prairie creation.”

That first Art Basel pavilion kicked off a subsequent touring exhibition, “The Art of Caviar,” including Coudamy’s Living Cells and interactive sculpture Solid Frequencies, alongside three other commissioned works by Cinq Fruits, TremensS, and Bonjour Lab which touched down in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

La Prairie
Courtesy of La Prairie

Chapter 1 — Noteworthy

La Prairie

By partnering with the leading international fair Art Basel, the Swiss luxury skincare brand opened a bold new chapter in creativity and discovery.

La Prairie

They tapped Paris-based Paul Coudamy to create a unique installation that was the focal point of their pavilion within the fair’s Collector’s Lounge.

La Prairie

Coudamy found inspiration in La Prairie’s cellular research, created Living Cells, a geometric sculpture.

Chapter 2

Julian Charrière and The Power of Light

La Prairie

La Prairie traveled to Asia last march for Art Basel in Hong Kong. There, they debuted Swiss-born Berlin-based Julian Charrière’s film Light Upon an Imaginary Space. The installation coincided with the luxury skincare brand’s launch of White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire—a new moisturizing cream that brightens and evens skin tone.

Charrière’s film, which beautifully features footage of frozen terrain, was captured through flying drones at night on treks to extreme landscapes around the globe, including the Giètro Glacier in the Swiss Alps.

La PrairieJulian Charrière’s Light Upon an Imaginary Space
La PrairieJulian Charrière’s Light Upon an Imaginary Space

“Filming primarily at night, the landscape transformed into both actor and stage the moment it was illuminated by the rays of the drone’s spotlight,” Charrière said. “Like La Prairie, my work constantly tries to push the boundaries of what is thought to be possible while being unafraid to forge new ways to implement new ideas.”

Charrière’s Light Upon an Imaginary Space connected the virtue of light in harsh climates with the brightening capacity of La Prairie’s White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire. “This extraordinary power inspired us to merge La Prairie’s science of light with the art of light, through the patronage of Julian’s magnificent work,” said Greg Prodromides, Chief Marketing Officer of La Prairie Group.

La PrairieArtist Julian Charrière
La PrairieInstallation view of Julian Charrière's work at Art Basel Hong Kong 2018.

Chapter 2 — Noteworthy

La Prairie

La Prairie debuted Swiss-born Berlin-based Julian Charrière’s film "Light Upon an Imaginary Space" at Art Basel in Hong Kong.

La Prairie

Charrière captured extreme landscapes around the globe, including the Giètro Glacier in the Swiss Alps.

La Prairie

It connected the virtue of light in harsh climates with the brightening capacity of La Prairie’s White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire.

Chapter 3

Two Generations Come Together at in Basel

La PrairieManon Wertenbroek in the studio.

In June of this year, La Prairie returned to Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. There, they presented a new project that paired the work of late world-renown French artist Niki de Saint Phalle with the work of Swiss artist Manon Wertenbroek, an emerging talent in the contemporary art scene.

These two generations were brought together to celebrate the Swiss luxury skincare brand’s launch of the reformulated Skin Caviar Luxe Cream, now featuring Caviar Premier. De Saint Phalle’s iconic cobalt blue was indeed the inspiration behind La Prairie’s own signature packaging for its coveted Caviar collection.

Like La Prairie, Wertenbroek found her own inspiration in de Saint Phalle’s bold blue. Employing cutting-edge technology—a staple of her practice—she created three original works. “I am very precise and meticulous in what I do. When it comes to quality and finishing I have very high expectations. What draws me to the work of Niki de Saint Phalle is her strong and instinctive use of color and form and the fact that she was never afraid to voice her ideas out loud,” said Wertenbroek. “In my work, I am constantly seeking the right balance between the instinctive and imprecise aspects of the piece and the precision of the reflective surfaces with which I work. I see this same devotion to precision, balance and beauty in the La Prairie aesthetic and approach, which is what attracted to me to this project.”

La PrairieInstallation view of Manon Wertenbroek within the La Prairie Pavilion at Art Basel 2018.

Wertenbroek’s three original pieces—Mirrors, Blue Portrait, and Window Glimpse—play with themes of reflection, indulgence, organic elements, and connected worlds. They were hung in dialogue with de Saint Phalle’s Pouf serpent blue (1991) within the La Prairie Pavilion of Art Basel’s Collector’s Lounge from June 14-17.

“[Wertenbroek’s] work is at once completely contemporary and forever timeless. Throughout the three works she has created for us, her use of cobalt blue is striking, and reminds us of the legacy of de Saint Phalle, a feminist, cosmopolitan artist who settled in Switzerland to dedicate herself to her work. The energy, which vibrates throughout the three pieces by Manon, a 21st century Swiss female artist carving a place for herself in the world of Contemporary art, is truly inspiring for us,” said Patrick Rasquinet, President and Chief Executive Officer of La Prairie Group. “Art Basel is the perfect venue to present this extraordinary exchange. Indeed, we are delighted to continue our partnership with Art Basel, which we believe is a natural fit.”

La Prairie continues its ongoing relationship with Art Basel this week in Miami Beach, to be revealed December 5.  

La PrairieCourtesy of Manon Wertenbroek
La PrairieCourtesy of Manon Wertenbroek

Chapter 3 — Noteworthy

IMG_9112_Facetune_14-06-2018-00-07-03

Art Art Basel in June, La Prairie debuted a dialogue between Niki de Saint Phalle and Manon Wertenbroek.

DSC_1604

Wertenbroek found inspiration in de Saint Phalle’s bold blue. Employing cutting-edge technology—a staple of her practice—she created three original works.

La Prairie

"Mirrors," "Blue Portrait," and "Window Glimpse" play with themes of reflection, indulgence, organic elements, and connected worlds.

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