Audemars Piguet Tokyo exhibition

Swiss Haute Horlogerie Manufacture Audemars Piguet brings its savoir-faire to Tokyo – Audemars Piguet Beyond Watchmaking Tokyo Exhibition

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Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet will unveil its new exhibition, Beyond Watchmaking, in Tokyo Midtown from October 19 to November 4, 2019. Audemars Piguet Beyond Watchmaking Tokyo Exhibition will offer visitors a unique and transformative experience of Audemars Piguet’s creative universe.

Beyond Watchmaking tells the story of the Manufacture’s craftspeople who have continuously developed new skills and techniques, broadening their savoir-faire to set rule-breaking trends across generations. Spanning 144 years of history, the exhibition features more than 150 watches from Audemars Piguet’s heritage and contemporary collections as well as spaces of encounters and exchanges dedicated to the Manufacture’s ancestral savoir-faire.Audemars Piguet Tokyo exhibition

Imagined by designer Mathieu Lehanneur and complemented with artworks commissioned by Audemars Piguet and realised by Ryoji Ikeda, Alexandre Joly and Dan Holdsworth, the exhibition also visualises the Manufacture’s origins and craftsmanship, as well as the complexity of time, through the lens of contemporary art and design. In so doing, Audemars Piguet fosters a creative dialogue among different creative practices, inspiring enriching exchanges and nurturing long-lasting collaborations with artists.

Audemars Piguet Beyond Watchmaking Tokyo Exhibition
Audemars Piguet Beyond Watchmaking Tokyo Exhibition

Beyond Watchmaking is presented as part of the 13th edition of Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH, a series of public art events focusing on the five senses.



144-Years of Savoir-Faire and Innovation

Beyond Watchmaking spans the Manufacture’s 144 years of history, from its establishment in 1875 in the Vallée de Joux, a valley nestled in the Swiss Jura Mountains, to the launch of its latest collection in 2019, Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet. Faithful to its origins and committed to preserving the art of Haute Horlogerie, the Manufacture has nurtured generations of watchmakers, artisans and engineers who have created remarkable timepieces blending tradition with innovation.Audemars Piguet Tokyo exhibition

Mathieu Lehanneur designed the exhibition space as a copper ring structured around rock replicas moulded on site in the Vallée de Joux—a tribute to Audemars Piguet’s geographic origins. Around them, 12 doors open to reveal the main technical and design milestones of the company’s watchmaking legacy. Reminiscent of a watch dial, the circular space comes to life as visitors plunge into Audemars Piguet’s history.

The 12 rooms present over 150 historical and contemporary watches from the Audemars Piguet collections, comprising remarkable avant-garde designs as well as some of the most complicated mechanisms developed by the Manufacture—from chronographs to Grandes Complications, including chiming and astronomical mechanisms. The exhibition notably displays the masterpiece of horological complications realised in 1875 by Jules Louis Audemars, one of the Manufacture’s co-founders, to mark the end of his apprenticeship.Audemars Piguet Tokyo exhibition

In addition, visitors will discover first hand some of the traditional and innovative techniques perfected by Audemars Piguet watchmakers. Le Brassus experts will demonstrate age-old hand-finishing techniques that have adorned Audemars Piguet timepieces since the Manufacture’s inception, as well as introduce visitors to the main technical complexities of Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet.

A previous iteration of the exhibition design travelled to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai in 2016.Audemars Piguet Tokyo exhibition

A Dialogue between Haute Horlogerie and Art

Since 2012, Audemars Piguet has globally commissioned new innovative artworks that engage with questions of heritage, origins and the environment, complexity and precision, art and technology. The artworks presented throughout Beyond Watchmaking testifies to the long-lasting collaborations Audemars Piguet has fostered with artists, whose practice mirrors the Manufacture’s values as well as the exceptional and experiential nature of its craft.

At the entrance of the exhibition, Ryoji Ikeda will unveil the second variation of his trilogy, data-verse, commissioned by Audemars Piguet. This data-driven composition, the first variation of which is on view at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (May 11 – Nov. 24 2019), proposes a journey through the cosmos, from the microscopic collision of protons to the exploration of the observed universe. This cosmic artwork resonates with the essence of watchmaking and furthers the connection between humanity and science at the heart of the Manufacture’s timepieces.Audemars Piguet Tokyo exhibition

Ikeda will also premiere a second audio-visual installation entitled data.anatomy [for Audemars Piguet] which immerses visitors in the Manufacture’s universe. This artwork decomposes and recomposes data sets drawn from Audemars Piguet’s technical records. More than 10,000 components taken from various models across the Manufacture’s collections and archives are fragmented, processed, orchestrated and reconstructed to visualise Audemars Piguet’s savoir-faire and identity in today’s digital era.

The exhibition incorporates additional artworks commissioned by Audemars Piguet that present highly creative interpretations of the Manufacture’s geographic origins. Embedded in Lehanneur’s exhibition design, Alexandre Joly’s sound installation Wild Constellations interweaves natural and industrial sounds recorded in the Vallée de Joux as well as in the Audemars Piguet Manufacture and Museum. The orchestration will resonate from the vegetal wall covering the ring’s internal surface via miniature golden round speakers called piezos, connected by piano strings. The constellation of speakers and strings around the wall allows for a constant transformation of the transmitted sounds as they reflect and reverberate the life, power and rhythm of the people around them.Audemars Piguet Tokyo exhibition

In addition, a selection of photographs from Dan Holdsworth’s series The Vallée de Joux (2011–2017), which captures the region’s ancient forests and glacial topography under the presence of mist, complements the exhibition of some of the Manufacture’s earliest creations.

This immersive journey into Audemars Piguet’s geographic and cultural universe interweaving Haute Horlogerie and contemporary art promises surprising encounters. Stay tuned.


“To break the rules, you must first master them.”


Exhibition Information

Dates: October 19 – November 4, 2019

Location: Tokyo Midtown, Grass Square

Admission: Free (please reserve your ticket on the website below)


Opening Hours: 11:00 – 19:30, *15:00 – 20:00 on October 19 (last entry 30 minutes before closing)

Audemars Piguet Manufacture
Audemars Piguet Manufacture

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About Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Since 1875, the company has written some of the finest chapters in the history of Haute Horlogerie, including a number of world firsts. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, numerous masterpieces are created in limited series embodying a remarkable degree of horological perfection, including daring sporty models, classic and traditional timepieces, splendid ladies’ jewellery-watches, as well as one-of-a-kind creations.

Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet

About Audemars Piguet and Art

Audemars Piguet fosters creative conversations between contemporary art and Haute Horlogerie by commissioning artists to explore its origins as well as themes including complexity and precision. Since 2012, Audemars Piguet has nurtured remarkable exchanges with artists including Kurt Hentschläger, Dan Holdsworth, Ryoji Ikeda, Lars Jan, Alexandre Joly, Theo Jansen, Kolkoz, Quayola, Robin Meier, Cheng Ran, Arin Rungjang, Tomás Saraceno, Semiconductor, Jana Winderen and Sun Xun.

In 2013, Audemars Piguet formed a partnership with Art Basel, the world’s premier contemporary art shows in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami Beach, where it has presented innovative art projects and lounge designs, inviting artists to creatively interpret its heritage and origins. The displayed artworks and the spaces in which they are presented reflect on Audemars Piguet’s sense of deep-rooted history, its connections with nature and commitment to creativity, innovation and independence.

Audemars Piguet Beyond Watchmaking Tokyo Exhibition
Audemars Piguet Beyond Watchmaking Tokyo Exhibition

Pursuing this engagement, Audemars Piguet launched its Art Commission in 2014. With each Commission, an artist-curator duo is invited to present a project exploring the themes of complexity and precision. Each recipient receives full financial support as well as specialised expertise and tools required to realise the artwork, which may incorporate complex mechanics, technology, science and environmental concerns.

Audemars Piguet also produces and presents a variety of special projects by established artists that converse with its savoir-faire and innovative spirit.

About Mathieu Lehanneur

Mathieu Lehanneur (b. 1975 in Rochefort, France) is a designer endowed with a multi-disciplinary approach to creativity at the forefront of the international design scene: his projects stretch the realms of product design and object to architecture, craft and technology. Lehanneur innovatively combines design, science, art and technology to create humanistic projects and designs, which are functional yet appeal to the physical and emotional senses, intended to enchant and encourage wellbeing.

Lehanneur’s office collaborates with prestigious brands across a variety of sectors including Air France, Audemars Piguet, Becton Dickinson, Cartier, Guerlain, JCDecaux, Nike, Poltrona Frau, Pullman Hotels, Schneider Electric, Sony and Veuve Clicquot. Lehanneur is also a partner in several companies in the areas of technology, cosmetology and urban mobility. Since 2015, he has been Huawei’s Chief Designer. He produces a number of pieces under his own brand; some of his series are represented by the Carpenters Workshop Gallery.

Mathieu Lehanneur
Mathieu Lehanneur

His works can be found in the permanent collections of many institutions including MoMA (New York), SFMOMA (San Francisco), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris) and the Design Museum Gent (Ghent).

Lehanneur has earned numerous awards including the City of Paris’ Grand Prix for creativity in 2006 and the Best Invention Award in 2008 by US magazine Popular Science for his work Andrea, a plant home air filtration system, created in partnership with Harvard University and based on studies developed by NASA.

He is currently part of the exhibition Dysfunctional at Palazzo Ca D’Oro, Venice Art Biennale (until November 24) and Nature – Design Triennial Exhibition co-organised by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York) and the CUBE Design Museum in Kerkrade, Netherlands (until January 2020). He is also working on numerous projects, including a new interior design for the Grand Palais (Paris), a foldable electric bike, interior designs for private and public spaces, as well as for the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

About Alexandre Joly

Alexandre Joly (b. 1977 in Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, France) is an installation artist. His current practice combines sculpture and sound installations, often creating in situ projects that explore the aesthetic, ethical and spiritual relations between man and nature. His site-specific works and performances interweave visual and phonic elements, forming singular imaginary landscapes that one can apprehend with the entire body.

For several years, Joly has been using miniature speakers, called “piezos,” in many of his artworks to present sounds recorded in natural settings and mixed with electronic sounds and frequencies.

Joly studied industrial design as well as fine arts and has taught at Geneva’s Haute École d’Art et de Design (HEAD). He won the Swiss Art Awards in 2007, the Fondation Irène Reymond Prize in 2010 and has held various international residencies.

Alexandre Joly
L’artiste Alexandre Joly dans son atelier à Genève, Suisse. (c)Marc Ducrest, Février 2015

His work has been exhibited in renowned institutions worldwide such as Tsonami Festival (Valparaíso), Fresh Window (Brooklyn), MEG (Geneva), Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts (Lausanne), Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, National Center for Contemporary Arts (Moscow), Le Lieu Unique (Nantes), Fondation d’entreprise Ricard (Paris), Institut d’art contemporain (Villeurbanne), Henan Art Museum (Zhengzhou) and Haus Konstruktiv (Zurich).

His latest exhibitions include Sustain Hallucinations From Inner Space displayed at L’Assaut de la Menuiserie for the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne (March – April 2019) and Silences currently on view at the Musée Rath in Geneva (June 14 – October 27, 2019).

Joly is represented by Gallery Rosa Turetsky and Gallery Roemerapotheke in Switzerland and in Belgium by La Patinoire Royale – Galerie Valérie Bach.

About Dan Holdsworth

Dan Holdsworth (b. 1974 in Welwyn Garden City, England) has built his career making pictures of landscapes. Using various techniques, from long exposures to cutting-edge programmes, he creates images that reflect the play of light—whether solar, lunar, stellar or man-made—or represent the infinite expanses of geological time. While Holdsworth’s subjects range from glaciers to shopping centres, the investigation of place has been his constant theme. Yet, his work is as much about time as it is about place.

Dan Holdsworth
Dan Holdsworth

Holdsworth studied photography at the University of the Arts’ London College of Communication. His work has been collected by and shown in leading museums around the world, such as Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Pompidou Centre (Paris) and the Museum of Modern Art (Vienna), among others. In 2015, he won the Arts Council of England Award.

In 2019, Holdsworth exhibited a new moving image as part of the exhibition John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing, Two Temple Place in London (January – April 2019). His work “Continuous Topography, Jura, no. 10-11, 2016” was featured in the exhibition LAND_SCOPE from the DZ BANK Art Collection at the Münchner Stadtmuseum in Munich (January – March, 2019) and his sculptural exhibition Spatial Objects was displayed at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art in Sunderland (January – March 2019).

About Ryoji Ikeda

Ryoji Ikeda (b. 1966 in Gifu, Japan) is a leading electronic composer and visual artist who explores the essential characteristics of sound and light by means of mathematical precision and aesthetics. By orchestrating sounds, visuals, materials, physics and mathematics, Ikeda goes beyond the conceptual to delve into extremes and infinites, testing the limits of human senses and digital technology.

Ikeda’s experimental work engages with frequencies and scales difficult for the human ear and mind to comprehend, visualising sounds and rendering the imperceptible through numerical systems and computer aesthetics. His long-term projects have taken a multiplicity of forms, from immersive live performances and audio-visual installations, to books and CDs.

Ikeda’s work has been performed and exhibited in numerous venues worldwide, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Ars Electronica Centre (Linz), Elektra Festival and Musée d’Art Contemporain (Montréal), Festival Grec and Sonár  (Barcelona), Barbican Centre and the Vinyl Factory (London), Carriageworks (Sydney), Kyoto Experiment, ACT Centre Gwangju, Kunstverein (Hannover), Pompidou Centre (Paris and Metz), ZKM Centre for Art and Media (Karlsruhe) and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow).

Ryoji Ikeda
Ryoji Ikeda

His 2019 projects include a collaboration with Hiroshi Sugimoto and Rick Owens on a commission by the Ballet de L’Opéra de Paris, a major solo exhibition at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, as well as an audiovisual trilogy, data-verse, commissioned by Audemars Piguet and presented at different international venues throughout 2019 and 2020. The first variation of data-verse is currently on view at the 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice (May 11 – November 24, 2019), along with a second work spectra III.

Ikeda is the recipient of the 2001 Ars Electronica’s Golden Nica Prize for the Digital Music Category, the 2012 Giga-Hertz-Award in the category of Sound Art at ZKM in Germany and the 2014 Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN. In early 2018, he established his online source under the name codex | edition. He is represented by Almine Rech Gallery (Bruxelles, Paris, London, New York) and Taro Nasu Gallery (Tokyo).

About Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH

Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH is an annual design event held in Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, currently in its 13th edition since 2007. Based on its concept, “enjoying design with all five senses,” DESIGN TOUCH organises events to give people a chance to discover novel design from Japan and the world and enrich our daily lives with a variety of artistic encounters.


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