Swatch welcomed hundreds of visitors today to The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai for a day-long celebration of art, artists, joie de vivre and positive provocation in the Hotel and on the Bund.
Swatch Group country manager Susan Chen welcomed government officials along with many Chinese and international journalists and artists to a press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick off the FACES & TRACES exhibition. In a video message Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek told the story of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel and its unique concept, and underlined the importance of art and creativity for Swatch. Extended Management Board Member Kevin Rollenhagen presented greetings on behalf of Swatch Group before handing over to Swatch Creative Director Carlo Giordanetti, who then introduced three artists: Michael Leibundgut, Pianzi and Zhu Ye each spoke of their personal experience of living in the landmark hotel and making art as part of a unique creative community.
Carlo Giordanetti emphasized the diversity and cosmopolitan character of the art community: 139 artists from 34 countries and 18 different artistic disciplines have been artists-in-residence in the three years since the official inauguration of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel. Susan Chen and Carlo Giordanetti together told the story of Swatch's love affair with art, which began over 30 years ago and continues today with its heartfelt commitment to supporting art and artists around the world. To mark the event Swatch also created a special watch, which shows The Swatch Art Peace Hotel against the unforgettable Shanghai skyline.
Commenting on the day’s events, Swatch Creative Director Carlo Giordanetti said: “Artists are a challenge, because they ask questions. Sometimes the questions they ask keep you up at night, and that is perhaps the most interesting thing about our program and the Hotel. It is a place where people ask questions.“
Participants at the press conference were then treated to a preview tour of FACES & TRACES, the first-ever exhibition of art made by the artists-in-residence at the Hotel.
FACES & TRACES ART EXHIBITION
In three years The Swatch Art Peace Hotel has welcomed 139 artists-in-residence in the studios and artist quarters on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Swatch hosts the artists for 3 to 6 months, giving them a perfect environment to experiment, exchange, and express themselves. They work in total freedom, part of a group of 18 artists who come and go at different times, which multiplies the opportunities to meet many different people during their stay. When the artists leave, Swatch asks them to leave a “trace” of their work—a work of art or other memento of their time in the Hotel. Today Swatch opened its exhibition of these traces, which are presented alongside photographic portraits of each of the artists. Together, these “FACES & TRACES” open up a fascinating window on contemporary art from China and around the world.
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