They may not know how to measure time, but they are the best at capturing it. A painter, an artist, and a designer: we talk to three up-and-coming talents to explore the relationships between art and time.
“It was not something I had considered at all. One day, I was painting a dashboard that was part of a bigger painting, and I realized I took a particular pleasure in drawing the dial, index and hands. Just to give it a try, afterwards, I painted a Monaco. Since then, I never stopped painting watches”.
Didier Vallé’s casual rendition of how he decided to become a watch painter alludes to the fact that it was simply a matter of coincidence, but I would suggest that the inherent similarities between his work and watches ensured that one day the hand of fate would intercede on his behalf; the love of precision, excellence, handcrafting, and major attention to minor details.
At just 26, Quentin Carnaille is already aspiring to follow in the footsteps of some of watch-making’s most visionary pioneers. Not a watch-maker in any sense of the word, Carnaille is a designer who sees opportunities for artistic expression in all aspects of horology. Like the incredible master watchmaker Beat Haldimann, he created a small watch that doesn’t show the time. For those looking for something slightly more practical he has created a series of horoligical cuff-links.
Although young and very much at beginning of his journey, this is one designer who seeks to think about the concepts time and how we measure it at a more intellectual level. He offered an interesting analysis of the life-cycle of time which gives an insight into his thought process: “4500 years ago, man created the sundial, which lasted 3900 years. Then, clepsydras appeared, and lasted 3300 years. Mechanical clocks were created in the XIIth century and lasted 600 ans. Pockets watches, 400 years, wrist watches, 100 years, quartz watches, a few decades, and finally some new technologies last only a few months”. That is why Carnailles has sees it as his job to stop the effects of time on watches – by deconstructing them. After all a deconstructed watch is no longer a timepiece at all and therefore can never age.
Artists and watch-makers constantly walk in opposite directions: the former seek to capture the essence of time by freezing it while the latter develop incredible movements to illustrate and measure how time flies. Stéphanie Guglielmetti, artist and designer, goes to the end of both process and then merges them together: she deconstructs watches, takes their parts, and then gives them a second life through artistic mobiles.
“Watches have always been part of my life. I grew up in the Jura mountains, worked for many watch brands, but as a designer, I always felt free to re-interpret them in my own way. I like going against strictness”.
In her creations, all parts come from used movements; “They’ve already had a first life”, explains Guglielmetti. “I exposed them on a white background, as if these old black-painted parts were immersed into a life, as if the shadow of the past melt into the present. At this point, what I do is like calligraphy. I try to get rid of all parasites and intrusive elements that light carries along with itself, to focus only on pure black and white, on past and present”.
With her bright smile, her kindness and her simplicity, it’s hard to resist Stéphanie Guglielmetti’s charm. She almost sounded suprised that 70% of her creations were sold in a few days when she exhibited them in a small gallery in Paris a few months ago. But believe me, it’s only just the beginning. You can check out her latest news at http://www.stephanie-guglielmetti.com