Episode 04

Embracing a Certain Swissness

By Whitewall
Whitewall Presents, June 13, 2019
Chapter 1

Why La Prairie collaborated with three Swiss female photographers.

From June 11–13 in the Collectors Lounge at Art Basel, La Prairie is presenting “Eyes in Focus”. The exhibition taps into the mystery behind the gaze—a look, but more importantly, a window into and a mirror of the soul.

La Prairie.Namsa Leuba
Nanihi I
Courtesy of La Prairie.

“‘Eyes in Focus’ unfolded as a natural theme once we were ready with our latest product innovation, Skin Caviar Eye Lift, which had, indeed, a focus area: the eyes. We strongly felt the Eyes were far more than the mirror of time passing, of age, but also the mirror to the soul,” said Greg Prodromines, Chief Marketing Officer of La Prairie. “When we focus on something, we gaze at it. The word ‘gaze’ is one that evokes intensity, passion, a propensity to dream. It is this emotional, powerful, defining quality of the gaze that La Prairie explores through this group show.”

La Prairie.Senta Simond
Lisa
Courtesy of La Prairie.

The gaze is explored by three female Swiss photographers—Daniela Droz, Namsa Leuba, and Senta Simond—who all graduated from Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL). Each, however, interpret art and the mystery of the gaze in different ways. Chosen for their unique viewpoints, the artists reveal the power and intimate vantage points that are contained within the female gaze.

Daniela DrozDaniela Droz
Résonance 03
2019
Courtesy of the artist and La Prairie.

“La Prairie has numerous artistic expressions and we feel the diversity of Namsa Leuba, Daniela Droz and Senta Simond’s work shows the many incarnations of our brand aesthetics. One thing our three artists however had in common were their Swiss origins: It certainly aided them in understanding our brand and applying that unqualifiable Swiss sensitivity to their artworks, which goes beyond definitions,” continued Prodromines. “There is something beautifully precise and rigorous in their works. Surely, the fact that our three talents are all graduates of the esteemed Lausanne University of Art and Design (ECAL) makes up for a welcoming coincidence. It certainly has contributed in shaping their individual aesthetics to reflect a certain intangible Swiss quality.”

La Prairie.Senta Simond
Lucia 2
Courtesy of La Prairie.

Special for this presentation is its Swissness—La Prairie is a luxury Swiss beauty brand, Art Basel is a major Swiss art organization, and both are supporting three Swiss emerging artists.

“Our starting point is always to identify artists in line with our brand values and our aesthetic universe. We look for artists who embrace our values and heritage as a luxury house. Indeed, all of our artists for this edition are Swiss. This was not an initial prerequisite, but unfolded as a valid lead moving forward,” said Prodromines. “We always try to embrace our ‘Swissness’ in everything we do. We did, however, very much like the idea of having only women. La Prairie considers that a woman’s desires are at the forefront of everything that we do. This collaboration is a celebration of what unites us.”

Chapter 1 — Noteworthy

Senta SimondLuciaCourtesy of La Prairie.

From June 11–13 at Art Basel, La Prairie is presenting “Eyes in Focus.”

La Prairie.

The three-part show explores the beauty and mystery of the gaze.

La Prairie.

Three female Swiss artists were employed to create alluring works for the exhibition.

Chapter 2

Three Artistic Expressions of The Gaze

La PrairieDaniela Droz.
Courtesy of La Prairie.

Droz is a native of Canton Ticino in Switzerland who currently teaches at ECAL, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in photography in 2008. Her work exemplifies the idea that photography does not solely exist as documentation. Her aim is to erase the material as much as possible so that the viewer can focus on the form.

She also gravitates toward a geometric, abstract, and constructed visual identity, which has aided in past work as a photographer for magazines, independent commissions and customers, and various brands. It was then that she realized she spent more time on building a décor than photographing the object. That attraction allowed her to realize that she was creating a world where the object could exist in the image, highlighted by light.

La Prairie.Courtesy of La Prairie.

“My greatest source of inspiration is the light—the light that highlights the cycle of our day and our life. The light that flows into our domestic space to create a relationship between the inside and the outside. I also love architecture, especially that which speaks of atmosphere and allows the visitor to live a personal experience, such as the architecture of Peter Zumthor or Tadao Ando,” she said. “For me the relationship with the material is very important, it’s also for this reason that I still work with film and not in digital. The images have a depth and a vibration that is impossible to find in the digital medium.”

La Prairie.Daniela Droz
Résonance 02
Courtesy of La Prairie.

Here, the artist was inspired by a desire to search for hints of the beauty and perfection in things and people. Between shadow and light, Droz makes reality visible. With an abstract composition, her works are largely based on the concept of a mirror and how it reflects the viewer’s emotions back onto them. This creates a metaphysical question of existence, and what our relationships are with the inner self and the outside world.

“La Prairie is a great representation of my two worlds—commissioned work and artistic work—that meet in the most organic way possible,” said Droz. “I think the world of La Prairie is a great match to my own. They have so much in common in terms of interest for the material, for simplicity, purity and light. For me, La Prairie is a Swiss brand that has a real history and that has passed the test of time thanks to its quality and its desire to always innovate, but at the same time respecting its traditional values.”

La Prairie.Namsa Leuba.
Courtesy of La Prairie.

Leuba, a Swiss-Guinean photographer who obtained a master’s degree in art direction photography at ECAL, is currently based in Tahiti and Switzerland. Her work has been published in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, Interview, and the British Journal of Photography, providing a diverse look at the world through documentary, fashion, and performance photography.

Leuba examines the representation of African identity through Western imagination, creating vibrant visual imagination. The artist notes her visual identity as pictorial, conceptual, and graphic, inspired by an array of inspirations—her heritage, her double origin, diversity, meetings and exchanges among people, travel, and culture. Her work also explores signs and symbols of her personal cultural heritage and, around the world, has received several awards and been exhibited in major museums. Today, she is excited to partner with La Prairie.

Namsa Leuba
Hitiata
Courtesy of La Prairie.

“Three words come to mind when I think of La Prairie: beauty, aesthetics and emotion,” said Leuba. “La Prairie illustrates the natural over time and release the feelings attached to it. Time passes, leaving its mark on all of us. Sometimes these marks are signs of happiness, others signal other emotions lived.”

La Prairie.Namsa Leuba.
Courtesy of La Prairie.

For these works, the artist wanted to express the hidden nature of emotions. “Hidden in us, they try to cross the veil that covers them,” she said. “The portraits are framed by an abstract image that represents the inscription in us of the shared experience. In the manner of what we see when we close our eyes, as an impression related to the memories that remain to us—that we can always continue to see the image by closing our eyes.”

La Prairie.Senta Simond.
Courtesy of La Prairie.

Senta Simond studied aesthetic and theory of cinema at the University of Lausanne, followed by a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in photography at ECAL in 2017. She identifies as a visual artist that works with photography and video, focusing on female representation with an intimate approach to the female body and portraiture.

Among many accolades in Paris, Britain, Switzerland, and beyond, she has also been exhibited in galleries and art fairs in Paris, Miami, London, Switzerland, and Amsterdam. Today, she lives and works in London, and mixes fashion imagery, classic portraiture, and cinematic effects to create dynamic works of art.

La Prairie.Senta Simond
Laura
Courtesy of La Prairie.

For the new “Eyes In Focus” collaboration, she hopes the audience will feel a connection and a range of emotions. “I am especially interested in showing the multitude of faces of the people and the physical shapes of the body,” she said. “There are many artists that inspired me, but if I would pick one that is related to this project, I would say Raoul Haussmann for his portraits.”

Senta Simond
Emma
Courtesy of La Prairie.

“I am playing with the gaze of my subjects by having different attitude with my subject,” she said. “I know there is a term ‘the male gaze’ and ‘the female gaze.’ I hope that viewers are able to find some affinity with ‘my gaze.’”

Discover more at LaPrairie.com.

La Prairie.Senta Simond.
Courtesy of La Prairie.

Chapter 2 — Noteworthy

Daniela Droz

For "Eyes in Focus," Daniela Droz explored her inspiration of light.

Namsa LeubaHitiataCourtesy of La Prairie.

Namsa Leuba framed her subjects with abstract images.

La Prairie.

Senta Simond took an intimate approach with portraits.

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