#SwatchxBiennaleArte

Passionately committed in supporting contemporary art, Swatch remains the proud main partner
of the 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia for the fifth consecutive time.
The Swiss watchmaker is presenting artists in both venues of the most important event
in the international art calendar.
from
shanghai
to
venice
Shanghai

The Swatch Art Peace Hotel

Shanghai

Since its opening in November 2011, The Swatch Art Peace Hotel has hosted more than 330 artists-in-residence from around the world. With the aim to encourage creative exchange, they live and work in apartments and workshops for a period of three to six months.

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Venice

Joe Tilson

Giardini · Venice

Originally associated with British Pop Art in the early 1960s, Tilson continues to evolve and push the boundaries of his practice. His presented artwork THE FLAGS depicts enlarged details from the artist’s latest Stones of Venice series of paintings.

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Swatch Faces 2019

Arsenale · Venice

Swatch Faces hosts the works of four former Swatch Art Peace Hotel artists-in-residence: Santiago Aleman (Spain), Tracey Snelling (USA), Jessie Yingying Gong (China) and Dorothy M Yoon (South Korea).

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JOE TILSON (UK) · GIARDINI

THE FLAGS
24 bespoke double-sided flags,
285 x 150 cm
2019

ABOUT THE PRESENTED ARTWORK

THE FLAGS are three enlarged paintings from Tilson’s collection The Stones of Venice that continue drawing upon Tilson’s love and knowledge of the city he has visited for over 60 years. A familiar face as well to La Biennale Arte – Tilson represented Great Britain at the 32nd International Art Exhibition back in 1964 – the British artist combines images from his favorite Venetian church facades, geometric patterns on stone flooring, and written inscriptions in this work. The 24 double-sided flags are aligned in three rows and measure impressive 150 x 285 cm each. Tilson emanates from a desire to ground himself in timeless, ancient systems of thought, and ways of making sense of the world.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in London in 1928, Tilson originally worked as a carpenter and a joiner before going to art school in the 1950s where he studied alongside Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Peter Blake and Richard Smith. Originally associated with the first generation of British Pop Art in the early 1960s, Tilson soon became disillusioned with consumer technology, instigating a departure in his artistic direction. Ever since, his work has consistently taken several forms, from painted canvases and panels to a variety of materials used such as wood, ceramic and stone in the form of ladders, boxes, standing totems and other objects. Tilson has exhibited widely internationally in 70 impressive years of making art. His work is represented in public and private collections throughout the world.

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JOE TILSON

JOE TILSON

Dorothy M Yoon (SOUTH KOREA)

THIS MOMENT IS MAGIC
24 Magic sticks (Chinese zodiac+Horoscope) - each 47cm
7 Magic girls’ dresses
This Moment is Magic blueprint Video
2017-now

ABOUT THE PRESENTED ARTWORK

“This Moment is Magic” started in 2017 during Yoon’s residency at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai and deals about a line between her life and magic. The work of sublimating life experience in fantasy involves a sense of agony, illusion, eroticism and wit – a process of associations, one after another. When a boundary emerges between reality and fantasy, the artist interprets it in her visual language. Diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago, the artist’s chemotherapy involved an analgesic injection – it not only relieved pain, but also made her feel vivid. Here and now, the injection refers to a traditional Korean color-striped Magic Stick, and her chemical arousal wears a costume of Magical girl battling against evils.

“This Moment” is an idea of time as intangible space and memory as tangible history; technology and science turn into art – intuitive and illusional – in the word “Magic”.

The set of 12 wands refers on the one hand to the Eastern, Chinese zodiac signs themed by year and earth, and on the other to the Western horoscope signs themed by month and universe. Everyone living here on Earth belongs to these 24 signs of the zodiac and horoscope; it is a moment and eternity at the same time.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Yoon’s art has changed the memory of pain and suffering into fantasy; split-second turns into magic or future. Wishing these instants in our time were eternal, magic moments, we all shall chant, “This moment is Magic!”

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Dorothy M Yoon

Dorothy M Yoon

Jessie Yingying Gong (CHINA)

ENFOLDING
A Study into the Gendered Scripts
2018-2019

ABOUT THE PRESENTED ARTWORK

“Women’s Writing”, Nüshu in Chinese, is a writing system developed by and only passed on among the female population of small villages in South Hunan Province. Derived from square Chinese characters, Nüshu takes on a whimsical shape, looking almost like dancing figures. For an exhibition during the artist’s Swatch Art Peace Hotel residency in 2018, a round table embroidery session was initiated, where the audience was invited to embroider their own Nüshu characters. On the backside of the fabric, the characters become even more abstract, like a language in its own right.

In Japan, similarly, women developed a simplified writing style from Chinese cursive script, known as Onnade, meaning “Women’s Hand”, (later known as Hiragana), to author literature, private communications among each other, as well as waka poems. Kanji was dominantly practiced by men and used to write official documents. The four lenticulars shown here demonstrate how Chinese characters became “folded” into the Japanese Onnade tradition.

Onnade and Nüshu appeared and manifested themselves in distinct ways. Eventually Onnade gained the upper hand and became the accepted form of writing together with Kanji, while Chinese Nüshu is now a dying practice considered to be cultural heritage. Yet together they tell the story of our shared history and memory — how women in different countries gave themselves a voice in a restricted and patriarchal environment, and how our communities and societies are connected through this resourceful act of defiance.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in 1990, Jessie Yingying Gong was raised in China before setting out to study and live in Europe that prompted in her a lasting fascination with the topics of memory, identity, symbols and language. The visual artist and photographer has exhibited in Asia and Europe. Yingying Gong is currently based between Shanghai and Amsterdam.

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Jessie Yingying Gong

Jessie Yingying Gong

Tracey Snelling (USA)

Shanghai/Chongqing Hot Pot/Mixtape
Mixed media installation with video
2018-2019

ABOUT THE PRESENTED ARTWORK

Drawing from her past experiences of traveling and living in China eight and ten years ago, and recently returning via Shanghai and Chongqing, Tracey Snelling gathers information through the process of wandering, observing, participating, and documenting. Not concerned with exact replication, Snelling creates a China-inspired world comprised of her own images and video, as well as found media, including a Chongqing rap video by the artist’s friend Jin Cheng. She collects props and paraphernalia, placing trophies and Tsingtao beer cans on a large tenement of buildings, transforming it into a display case for her souvenirs. A replication of a woman seen kneeling with her face against the wall in a subway station in Chongqing leaves the viewer, as well as the artist, to wonder if she was deep in prayer, meditation, performing a political act, or merely sleeping. Small-scale buildings, piled high in a tower of lights and signage, are based on places Snelling has visited, with video from her personal experience. The secret bar on Fuzhou Lu plays video of Snelling and her friends mixing drinks with the bar owner; a tattoo shop in a nearby “locals” mall shows the artist getting her latest tattoos. The large wall-size collage with video is one of a series of installations that Snelling refers to as Clusterfucks, where various original and collected images and footage mix in a clash of color, light and turbulence. The different works in the installation play off of each other in a cacophony of layered visuals, lights, and sound, capturing Snelling’s complex and varied experiences of a chaotic, beautiful, and sometimes challenging country.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Tracey Snelling was born in Oakland, California in 1970 and is currently based in Berlin. Through the use of sculpture, photography, video, and installation, Snelling gives her impression of a place, its people and their experience. Often, the cinematic image stands in for real life as it plays out behind windows in the buildings, sometimes creating a sense of mystery, other times stressing the mundane. Her work derives from voyeurism, film noir, and geographical and architectural location. Snelling has exhibited in international galleries, museums and institutions.

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Tracey Snelling

Tracey Snelling

Santiago Aleman (SPAIN)

LEVO
Oil and gesso on linen, cotton duck,
hessian and wood panels of varying dimensions,
190 x 230cm (group)
2019

ABOUT THE PRESENTED ARTWORK

Levo is a polyptych comprising fourteen pieces, a conceptual altarpiece woven by an autonomous idea of painting, sculpture and spatial composition. It expresses a positive message of social and personal elevation through the color and textures that emphasize the vernacular nature of this creation, strengthening the connection with the place and the community.

Detached from the piece itself, the positioning of life experience offers a creative filter for a methodical collection of geometric and textural elements that moves the observer to free apprehension.

The artist’s work is characterized by an appearance of aesthetic simplicity that nonetheless transcends an intrinsic complexity derived from the vernacular nature of materials, shapes, colors and textures in an abstract piece that leaves all emotional connections and subjective interpretations to the observer.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Santiago Aleman was born in 1972 in La Almarcha (Spain) as Julian Ramirez Rentero and lives and works in London. He studied Architecture, Landscaping and Fine Arts at universities in Spain, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, and has taught Architecture Concepts at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, China. Aleman has developed a practice held as contemporary art with a creative focus on the importance of environmental and socio-cultural realities. His work revolves around the idea of the vernacular ethos as an artistic route to abstraction. The vernacular of the present times returns to embrace a multiplicity of expressions, related less to the literary code of academia and rather closer to a reality the artist builds as a visual construction of the intersection between spatial structure and volumetric painting. Aleman has exhibited his work in the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Spain and China.

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Santiago Aleman

Santiago Aleman

58th Biennale Arte

THE JOE TILSON VENETIAN WATCH

In the year of celebration for his 90th birthday, Swatch presents THE JOE TILSON VENETIAN WATCH, a limited edition. The 2019 Art Special, traditionally launched at La Biennale di Venezia will conquer the wrists of 2019 friends of Swatch, once more bringing art to the real life of people and spreading the “Swatch loves Art” message that continues to inspire and animate a unique creative dialogue.

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INTERESTING TIMES

The exclusive Biennale Watch can only be found at the Biennale Bookshops, the Venice Swatch Stores and at other selected stores in Italy.

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58th Biennale Arte · Venice

THE SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL · SHANGHAI

THE SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL · SHANGHAI

A former luxury hotel to host an artist residential community: The Swatch Art Peace Hotel artist residency is designed to bring together artists from around the world to experience a unique cultural environment dedicated to contemporary art in the extraordinary city of Shanghai. The focus of the residency is on creative exchange. Artists are free to engage in individual or joint projects. Since its opening in November 2011, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel has hosted more than 330 artists-in-residence from around the world.

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THE SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL · SHANGHAI

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Swatch at Biennale Arte 2019
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Giardini · JOE TILSON
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ARSENALE · SWATCH FACES 2019
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Photos from the 58th Biennale Arte · Venice
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