Every summer, the art world has their eyes on Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. Hong Kong knows the international art fair well, but to step into the hallowed exhibition halls in Basel where the near-50-year-old art fair first started, is a different story. As the mid-year anchor of the international art calendar, Art Basel is perhaps the most prestigious (if not most well known) art fair on the planet. For any art gallery or artist for that matter, the chance to exhibit at Art Basel is a privilege and a surefire way to launch their careers.
As a continuing partner of the fair, La Prairie also demonstrates its incredible affinity for the arts with its prominent presence each year in the Collectors Lounge, while also exhibiting the brand’s philosophies of purity, precision and excellence encased in every bottle of skincare.
For the 2019 edition of Art Basel last June, the brand brought forward three bright rising stars to its pavilion: Daniela Droz, Namsa Leuba and Senta Simond. In an exhibition titled ‘Eyes in Focus’, each artist was commissioned to celebrate the female gaze — showcasing the power of the female perspective, as well as honouring the timelessness and authenticity of feminine beauty.
“In making the deliberate choice to work with female artists, we also pay homage to the inimitable quality of the female gaze, interpreted by the perspective of women themselves,” said Greg Prodromides, Chief Marketing Officer of La Prairie. “These artists break the codes of their chosen medium, just as La Prairie continues to break the codes of luxury skincare with unexpected creations.”
The three are graduates of Lausanne University of Art and Design (ECAL), an institution ranked among the world’s top 10 universities of art, and are considered to be among the forefront of Swiss photography with their minimal and clean aesthetic.
Senta Simond’s work encompasses stark, intimate close-up portraits of young women. The viewer is almost immersed in the natural beauty, placing them into the full gaze of the subjects carefully watching out of the artwork’s plane. Rather than professional models, Simond chose regular women as a play on the traditional visual objectification, or ‘male gaze’ found throughout art history. Simond notes, “for this series, I play with the gaze of my subjects by photographing them in different emotional states, reflecting different postures and attitudes. There is the ‘male gaze’, which we tend to associate with objectification, and the ‘female gaze’, which is usually linked with introspection. I hope with these works, that viewers are able to find some affinity with ‘my gaze’.”
Daniela Droz has photographed mirrored surfaces and shadows, installing the pieces within mirrored surfaces that also reflect the viewer’s gaze back onto themselves. In this way, the viewer becomes part of the art, while also dismantling the idea of a viewer’s gaze in one fell swoop. Droz said, “I sought to accentuate the idea of a new approach to photography… with a new point of view, outside the generally accepted rules of perspective.”
In Namsa Leuba’s black and white portraits, the notion of time becomes the subject. Framed and composed in a manner that is reminiscent of classical paintings, yet stylised with contemporary means, the images signify the blurred and frozen passage of time. By contrasting dualities of tradition and modernity; of monochrome and coloured photography; of present moment and past memory, the artworks are also an attempt to resonate with Leuba’s own bi-cultural identity. “In approaching this collaboration around the theme of Eyes in Focus, I wanted to illustrate the nature of emotions hidden in us and that attempt to come through the veil that covers them,” said Leuba.
Ultimately, these three artists’ series also speak to La Prairie’s latest breakthrough creation — the Skin Caviar Eye Lift — and its properties in bringing renewed attention to a powerful and energetic gaze. Stay tuned for more information as we reveal La Prairie’s latest launch this summer.