This week, Greubel Forsey opened its first Time Art Gallery on the Bund in Shanghai, China. The elegant space displays watches that Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have created since their company debuted 13 years ago. Also on display are timepieces by independent master watchmakers that Robert and Stephen admire, and a collaborative contemporary art piece.
The Time Art Gallery brings together and showcases three universes related to the creation and the art of watchmaking: The Greubel Forsey timepiece collection; the co-creation process undertaken with contemporary artists; and the work of master watchmakers whose work Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey consider milestones in horological history. Greubel Forsey chose the multicultural city of Shanghai for the Time Art Gallery due to its ever-increasing prominence in the world of contemporary art.
The Greubel Forsey timepiece collection on exhibition at the Time Art GalleryGF provides an overview of thirteen years of creation by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey. In 1999, driven by the conviction that fine watchmaking is as much, if not more, a means of artistic expression than luxury craftsmanship, the two watchmakers, decided to combine their talents and form a partnership. Each one of their timepieces reflects a desire to innovate and surpass existing limits; their philosophy that the mechanism determines the timepiece. Thus, form follows function and the outward appearance stems from the mechanism, visible from both the front and back of the timepiece. This approach has defined the creations of Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, who do not hesitate to revisit their work with their ‘Invention Piece’. Through these architectural reinterpretations, Greubel Forsey pays homage to their fundamental inventions while expressing creative essence in a new way.
Time Art Gallery is also a showcase for Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey to present master watchmakers who, in their opinion, truly embody the values of perfection and excellence. The work of two such master watchmakers is presently on display at Time Art Gallery: Philippe Dufour, one of the staunchest defenders of traditional fine watchmaking, is characterised by superlative workmanship and sublime hand finishing; Vianney Halter is renowned for the avant-garde deconstructionist architecture of his timepieces in the style he calls “Futur Antérieur” (Future Past). Both a tribute and an exhibit, the timepieces presented at Time Art Gallery convey the philosophy of watchmaking excellence.
Upon discovering the work of British micro-sculptor Willard Wigan, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey found the miniaturised language of fine watchmaking, which inspired them to initiate collaborative ventures with contemporary artists. The first artistic co-creation will be a timepiece incorporating a sculpture by Willard Wigan. Born in 1957, he creates the world’s smallest sculptures and displays them within the eye of a needle or on top of a pinhead. Dyslexic, as a child Willard Wigan chose this medium as a way to escape reality. He reinterprets and recreates masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s David, the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci and popular culture icons like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland on a microscopic scale. Stages in this artistic co-creation between Willard Wigan and Greubel Forsey will be displayed in the Time Art GalleryGF as the project evolves.
The Time Art Gallery is located in the beautifully restored waterfront complex, Bund 18, in Shanghai, a cultural crossroads and nerve centre for the thriving contemporary arts scene. In 2006, Bund 18 received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award of Distinction for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
Greubel Forsey -Time Art GalleryGF, Room C1, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan East Road