Audemars Piguet, one of the few remaining significant and historic independent Swiss-watch maisons that aren’t part of a multinational luxury-goods conglomerate, will present its new exhibition at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai beginning October 28. Titled “To Break the Rules, You Must First Master Them,” the show will run through November 13.
Sponsored by Audemars Piguet (AP), the exhibit installation was conceived by award-winning French designer Mathieu Lehanneur and will be complemented by works from renowned artists including Cheng Ran, a Chinese new-media and video artist. Lehanneur has created a stunning architectural installation for the show: an immense copper-finished ring surrounding rocks made from resin and fiberglass-molding casts of boulders found in Audemars Piguet’s hometown, Le Brassus, in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux. Within the ring are 12 “rooms” housing some 200 vintage and contemporary timepieces curated by Sébastian Vivas, the director of AP’s company museum. It’s the largest collection of AP watches ever shown outside that facility.
“Being able to assemble an exhibition of this scope in Shanghai is an extraordinary opportunity that we could not easily pass up,” Tim Sayler, Audemars Piguet’s chief marketing officer, tells Jing Daily in an exclusive interview. “The Yuz Museum is the perfect setting, as it further reinforces our focus on the world of fine art and will be an incredible backdrop to bring the wonders of what we do in Le Brassus to such an important market as China.”
“To Break the Rules,” its creators note, explores horological arts and crafts over the centuries by taking visitors on a journey through the process of watchmaking juxtaposed with an array of contemporary art. Lehanneur is primarily known as a furniture designer, but he works in many disciplines that showcase, as he puts it, “design, science, art, and technology as poetic-communicative components to achieve maximum welfare for human beings.”
Adds Sayler: “The presentation of our collections, from museum pieces to our latest novelties, allows us to delve deep into our brand’s rich 141-year history in a way we have never been able to do before.”
In the luxury sector, Lehanneur has worked with Cartier, Veuve Clicquot, Issey Miyake, Christofle and, of course, Audemars Piguet, for which he previously developed a signature lounge at ArtBasel: Hong Kong in 2014—where the Vallée de Joux boulders on view here made their China debut. “This exhibition is a reflection on time,” Lehanneur says. “A dreamy vision of time where each instant differs from the previous one. Here every door opens onto a new story.”
From Shanghai, the exhibition will move on to several other global cultural capitals.