The Beauty of Art Basel
Since it first launched in 1970, the art trade fair in Messe Basel quickly became the iconic meeting place for the international art world. Attended by nearly 300 galleries and more than 90,000 art connoisseurs each year, Art Basel continues to grow as a global platform for artists and representatives. Additional shows take place annually in Miami Beach and Hong Kong, and 95,000-plus visitors are expected to flock to Switzerland’s Messeplatz in 2020.
On exhibit are high-quality modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, prints, video, and multimedia works by more than 4,000 artists, from masters like Picasso to the newest generation of creatives. For collectors looking to stock their private museums, being on the invitation-only list for the first two days of the fair is the VIP way to see the show, with exclusive access to the Collectors Lounge. The brands welcoming enthusiasts, from Audemars Piguet and NetJets to Ruinart and Davidoff, make accessing the fair that much more enjoyable and successful.
A standout participant since 2017, Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie (laprairie.com) has established a reputation for converging art and science in unique and pioneering ways. “Art Basel is the natural venue for a dialogue with artists,” said Chief Marketing Officer Greg Prodromides, “and we truly believe it is a natural fit for La Prairie to be here as we have always had an intrinsic link with art since the inception of the brand in the 1930s.” For the 2019 edition of the fair, La Prairie partnered with three Swiss artists to interpret what they call “the beauty of the gaze,” a concept that dovetailed nicely with the launch of its newest Skin Caviar Eye Luxe Lift serum ($480).
With this notion in mind, the female photographers chosen to deliver their perspective produced a photographic exhibition titled Eyes in Focus, which debuted at the La Prairie Pavilion in the Collectors Lounge. All graduates of the Lausanne University of Art and Design, Daniela Droz, Namsa Leuba, and Senta Simond represent the new guard of contemporary photography. The brand believes it’s essential to support and encourage young artists who are forward-thinking and breaking the codes of their chosen medium, as that is what La Prairie strives to do with skincare. Skin Caviar Eye Luxe Lift is a serum for the entire eye area, brows included. With regular use, it’s meant to tighten the upper lids, visibly reduce crow’s feet, and strengthen under-eye skin to diminish puffiness. Over time, the complete eye area appears lifted and firmed.
Each artist’s vision produced a unique approach to the project. Droz transformed photographs into mirrors that reflected the viewer’s gaze back at themselves. “I sought to accentuate the idea of a new approach to photography,” says Droz, “following the concept of Constructivism or Bauhaus: a new point of view, outside the generally accepted rules of perspective.”
Leuba’s black-and-white pictorial work against a colorful frame explored the expression of time, as the eye area is the first to show signs of aging. “I wanted to illustrate the nature of emotions hidden in us,” she says, “and that attempt to break through the veil that covers them.” Simond shot a series of close-up portraits of young women she knows. “I played with the gaze of my subjects by photographing them in different emotional states,” she explains. “We tend to associate the male gaze with objectification, and the female gaze is usually linked to introspection.” The installations spoke to life, power, and intimacy with a message that echoed Andrea Bowers’ monumental artwork about the #MeToo movement in a more abstract way. Bowers’ Open Secret was on view in the fair’s Unlimited section, making Eyes in Focus a bonus for those with access to the Collectors Lounge.