British actor, dancer, mime artist and charismaticmchoreographer Lindsay Kemp founded his own dance company in the early 1960s. Among his students were pop icons and musicians who later collaborated with Kemp on films and performances related to their music. Kemp has also staged and performed in highprofile pop star concerts. His performance style blends eastern elements such as Butoh with mime, burlesque and drag. Fascinating and colourful, his work earns steady critical acclaim.
Flowers (GK207) is as full of glitter, glamour, and shimmer as a spotlit stage. Dreamy and performative, the piece sweeps across the wrist with floral grace. In this effortlessly chic watch, Kemp employs the transparent Swatch plastic to create an ethereal mood, and lines the strap with drawn moments of whimsy, stardust, eye-shadow blue and hand-scrawled words. At the centre of the piece, a handsome face looks back at the wearer from underneath a hand-written “Amore,” stretched across the top of the dial. Light, elegant and fantastical, this window into the artist’s imagination is as breathtaking and poised as his acclaimed work in his native medium.
Italian artist, writer, and designer Riccardo Licata works in mosaics, engraving, and painting. In the 1950s he took part in two Venice Biennales and has since exhibited in many eminent museums and collections around the world. He is known for his experimental engraving techniques, his masterful use of the medium of mosaic, and elegant stage and costume designs done for ballet and theatre productions in the latter part of his career. Licata’s work is found in prestigious museums of modern art from Rome to New York and Stockholm.
Enchanting Forest (GL106), Licata’s design for Swatch, is inked with rows of tree-like fi gures, each of which shines with calligraphic elegance. These sea green, sky-blue, and twilight-purple silhouettes are lined on the left with red shadows, a visual touch that implies a setting or rising sun, low to the horizon to the right of the image. This suggestion of light-and-shade brings a sense of the outdoors to the arboreal scene.
Bengt Lindstroem was one of the best-known contemporary Swedish painters. Born in 1925 in Northern Sweden, where winters are long and dark and summers are short and continuous, Lindstroem’s work is characterized by his intense handling of darkness and colour. Decisive, fearless use of paint, often wielded in the service of rendering faces caught in unexpected distortion, gave him his distinctive look. Lindstroem is also well known for his public works, especially his sculptures, one of which is featured at the Midlanda Airport in Sweden.
Temps Zero (GB166), heartily coloured in cadmium red, yellow, black and blue, has the visual advantage of snapping up attention through sheer intensity of colour. The dial has the hint of a human face, an implied bridge of the nose and two orbs that could be eyes. With its ambiguous central image, the watch could equally be pure formal composition, resounding with a beauty that only subtly references the light and forms of the natural world. With abstract grace and poise, this Swatch Art Special is an audacious balancing act of form and colour, a truly modern painting at the wrist.
Dutch painter and printmaker Corneille was a founding member of the European Expressionist Movement known as “CoBrA”, and was one of the most dynamic Expressionist painters of the group. Corneille is known for his use of brilliant colour, partial abstraction, and his choice to look for inspiration to children’s art, art created in hospitals, African art, and folk art rather than to the tradition academic canon. He was also an accomplished lithographer, manipulating the medium to create powerfully dark and surreal images.
Vive La Paix (GK206) is as sweet and lazy as a summer day. Painterly images of birds and the sun float in white on a deep azure strap like clouds passing across the sky. A brilliant and shimmering hue, the strap is rendered in signature Swatch plastic, with a clear plastic case around the dial. The dial, an easy field of cornflower blue, is empty of numbers except for a 3 at the right. To the left sits a friendly print of a hen in the sun, a warm scene from a country farmyard.
This Swatch Art Special from Dutch artist Corneille seems made of whimsy and summer, the perfect complement to a dreamy afternoon.
Hajime Tachibana is a Japanese graphic designer and musician. Tachibana achieved cult status in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the lead guitarist for a short-lived, widely influential Japanese New Wave music group. The band earned the admiration of the Japanese music and fashion worlds, and its songs, widely held to be seminal works in the canon of Japanese pop, have been covered by Western and non-Western bands alike. Tachibana is also widely known as a designer. His design work is distinguished by his typography and elegant use of graphic elements.
In Graphickers (GK208), Hajime Tachibana plays a clever melody on the keyboard of typography, using printed, stretched, coiled and distorted fonts as visual elements in the design. The strap is clear plastic, so that the type and words – “Swatch Graphickers” – pop against whatever background is placed behind the watch. The white dial is inked with an intricate, tangled design of black lines that almost look like traces of some object’s trajectory, a record of movement. Lines that curve and twist suggest shell-like, architecturally structured forms. The b&w palette is perfect for this minimalist designer, whose urbane tastes defi ne his point of view.