Swatch Faces

The thrilling love story of Swatch & Art returns to Venice as the Swiss watchmaker resumes its role as main partner of the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. A variety of installations at both the Arsenale and Giardini venues take up the Swatch Faces 2017 theme: resident artists from the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Shanghai present their work, and color is celebrated in the spectacular work of British abstract artist Ian Davenport.

Since opening in November 2011, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel residency has hosted more than 250 artists from around the world in the landmark hotel on the Bund in Shanghai. Swatch Faces 2017 encourages cross-cultural exchange through contemporary art: Swatch has invited four international artists from its unique artist residency to bring their art to the historic Arsenale shipyards at the world’s most prestigious contemporary art exhibition.

In her time as a resident, French photographer Virginie Litzler was entranced by the mysterious visual poetry of light and shadow in Shanghai streets. Poetry infuses the work of China’s Yuan Jinhua as well: in a series of 8 moody ink-wash paintings he gives voice to profound and changing emotions. Shanghai’s post-modern skyscrapers catch the eye of Belgian architect and artist Cédric Van Parys – especially the curious and striking monuments built atop them. A very different response to the city comes from South African Rodan Kane Hart, intrigued by presentday remains of Shanghai’s colonial past: 40 mirror-polished steel masks represent the symbolic death of western conceptions of art.