After showing at the Bellerive Museum in Zurich in 2011 and the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore in 2012, the Cartier Time Art exhibition has arrived in Shanghai. It presents a remarkable selection of watches and clocks that show the development of watchmaking at Cartier, from the earliest models to contemporary designs. It offers a unique opportunity to assess the scope of Cartier’s creativity.
The selection of pieces covers several distinct periods, mixing inventiveness with aesthetic and technical innovation to demonstrate the vitality of Cartier’s watchmaking heritage. Its wealth of shapes, designs, complications and crafts represents the truly exceptional level of expertise of the Maison Cartier.
Cartier emphasises this point by placing contemporary creations alongside antique pieces. This revealing contrast not only includes several recent creations, such as two mystery watches, but also two revolutionary timepieces: the visionary concept models Cartier IDOne and Cartier IDTwo. They illustrate an openness to the future that characterises Cartier.
While the pieces from the Cartier Collection, set up in 1983, have been shown in the world’s greatest museums, its creations have rarely appeared in an exhibition devoted to contemporary watchmaking. The exhibition begins in 1880 with a watch-brooch in yellow gold, and ends with the concept watches Cartier IDOne and Cartier IDTwo. Modernity and the avant-garde are two constants that have shaped Cartier’s history, as shown by the 150 vintage pieces from the Cartier Collection that are also on display (including mystery clocks, pocket watches, chatelaine watches, wristwatches…).
At the heart of all activity, the artistic crafts occupy a special place: champlevé, cloisonné, grisaille and plique-à-jour enamel, as well as the techniques of cameo work, straw and floral marquetry, mosaic and granulation. These are crafts that demand great expertise, patience and precision. They testify to Cartier’s commitment to innovation, testing new techniques and reintroducing ancient ones, exploring the limits of artistic crafts with their myriad possibilities.
In this stylistic and technical journey, one theme is present throughout all the periods of Cartier history: the spirit of freedom and daring that drives all those involved in the creative process at Cartier, from concept designers to craftsmen. This spirit has been captured in the exhibition’s scenography, designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, who was awarded the Design of the Year prize by A&W Architektur & Wohnen magazine in 2011. He had already given his unique look to the Cartier Collection in 2009 with the Story of… Memories of Cartier Creations, a noteworthy exhibition in which the designer was inspired by the evocative power of the Collection’s precious objects.
Power Station of Art in Shanghai is China’s first public museum of contemporary art. It opened its doors in 2010 to host the Pavilion of Urban Future at the World Expo. The building was originally a power station dating from 1897, and has been converted into a museum with spectacularly large display spaces. It is home to the Shanghai Biennale and has presented major exhibitions such as: Electric Fields and beyond – la Collection du Centre Pompidou in 2012, Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal and the retrospective Portrait of the Times: 30 Years of Chinese Con- temporary Art in 2013. With its 165 metres chimney, a symbol of industrial power and urban modernity, the museum is a contemporary landmark and a signature of Shanghai.
Event organised as part of France-Chine50 – www.france-chine50.com