Ciao Venezia! Swatch teams up with Navin Rawanchaikul for art special watch

January 12, 2024

Inspired by Swatch’s commission for the Biennale di Venezia, the Limited Edition Art Special watch CIAO VENEZIA! by Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul celebrates the connection between global migration and local communities. As a committed and passionate supporter of contemporary art, Swatch is proud to be the main partner of La Biennale di Venezia and patron of the event for the sixth time in a row. For this 59th edition of the International Art Exhibition, the Swiss watchmaker collaborated with Navin for a larger-than-life installation inspired by the legendary travels of Marco Polo.

Swatch first crossed paths with Navin in 2021, when the eclectic Thai artist was working in Rome with MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts, on a project involving the foreign communities in Italy’s capital city. Navin’s inclusive approach to understanding the peoples of the world and nomadic life more generally inspired the brand to work with him on an art installation for the 59th edition of La Biennale Arte in Venice, Italy.

The site-specific art installation organized by Swatch at the Biennale’s Giardini location tells the story of the immigrant communities that call Venice their home. It is an expression of both the traditions they maintain and those that they adopt. Entitled THE DESCRIPTION OF THE WORLD, this engaging 14 m long multimedia work is three-dimensional in its depth of meaning as it attempts to connect centuries of world history, from Marco Polo’s Venice to modern day. As part of the project, Navin wrote a letter to Marco Polo telling of his own personal journey that brought him to Venice. The letter, which is part of the installation, is translated into multiple languages and can be both read and listened to. It emphasizes the intercultural spirit of the work and makes it a veritable feast of sight, sound and contemplation.

Now Navin’s work is on its smallest canvas ever: the Swatch Art Special watch, dubbed CIAO VENEZIA! This Limited Edition watch commemorates both the history and culture of Venice as well as the fundamental importance of art as a means of celebrating inclusivity and local traditions throughout the world. Like the art installation on which it is based, it is rich in detail, featuring Marco Polo and many other historical figures and landmarks from across time and space. The special packaging comes with a 3.5 m long printout of Navin’s letter to Marco Polo.

ABOUT THE ARTIST Born in Thailand to Indian parents in 1971 with ancestry rooted in Pakistan, Navin Rawanchaikul divides his time between his family in Fukuoka, Japan, and his hometown of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Introducing art into the lives of everyday people, his colorful works range from sculpture to painting, performance, photography, billboards and film, even including comics, merchandise and cocktails. His work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions throughout the world, including representing Thailand for the 54th Venice Biennale, and he was awarded the Silapathorn Award from the Thai Ministry of Culture in 2010. His dynamic, in-your-face artwork defies convention and offers up social commentary in a way that the public can’t help but engage with. He brings his ambitious multimedia installations to life with the help of his skilled creative team at Navin Productions, a studio and artist collective he founded in 1994.