It is Art Basel and it has been a very busy week for me. Called the “Olympics of the art world” by The Daily Telegraph, Art Basel is considered the world’s leading contemporary art fair. Each year, nearly 300 international galleries come to the Switzerland to showcase over 2,500 works. Open until Sunday, June 17th, 2012.
Last Tuesday, MONTBLANC, the German manufacturer of writing instruments, watches and accessories, often identified by their “White Star” logo, celebrated together with Parisian art gallery Perrotin the start of Art Basel and the 10th anniversary of their CUTTING EDGE ART COLLECTION. The private dinner party was held on a boat called Das Schiff – Restaurant Treibgut in Basel with a live performance of the band WhoMadeWho.
The engagement with the arts and artists has been embedded in Montblanc’s corporate philosophy for a long time. In regard to this, Montblanc began to build a contemporary art collection ten years ago. The works from the collection are displayed in the entire cooperation’s facilities at the headquarters in Hamburg.
Above you can see Ingrid Roosen-Trinks, Director at the Montblanc Cultural Foundation with me, who has built up Montblanc’s art projects from the very first beginning. (She wore the gorgeous cadillac leather skirt and matching heels from Prada‘s S/S 2012 collection. Funnily enough, Miuccia Prada’s designs are very coveted among art lovers.)
MONTBLANC CUTTING EDGE ART COLLECTION, Foyer at the Montblanc Headquarter, Hamburg
In 1998, Ingrid Roosen-Trinks started negotiations with artists and galleries and in 2002 Montblanc presented the first work by US artist Tom Sachs. Sachs considered it as a challenge to interpret the Montblac star, the emblem of the long-established company, and created the first commissioned work.
Tom Sachs, USA, Big Lunar Module 2002, 178 cm x 178 cm x 233 cm
PVC, foam core, thermal adhesive
Since then, the collection expanded to 160 unique artworks including works by Thomas Demand, Liam Gillick, Jonathan Meese, Sylvie Fleury, Jorge Pardo, Ugo Rondinone, Michel Majerus, Lijun Fang.
Jonathan Meese, Germany, DIE 2 (SUSSIS) im milchfrischen Scarlettierbabyland de lovely PIE, 2008, 210 cm x 140 cm
Oil and mixed media on canvas
Many of the artists were considered as Cutting Edge at the time they were commissioned – in other words, just at the edge of becoming well known. Today, they claim international recognition and continue a close relationship with the company. To view the brand through the eyes of internationally renowned artists and with that also perceive it undergo a contemporary interpretation is a privilege Montblanc is enjoying to get new impulses for their own work. The collection is also accessible to the public with guided tours.
Daniel Pflumm, Switzerland, Untiteled 2002 – 120x16cm
The MONTBLANC CUTTING EDGE ART COLLECTION is growing constantly. The MONTBLANC YOUNG ARTIST WORLD PATRONAGE project is an addition since 2005 to the collection. Young artist who are standing at the beginning of their careers are being chosen and offered to interpret the Montblanc logo. Reproductions of the works are then being displayed in all 410 Montblanc Boutiques around the world. This guarantees the young artists a unique attention and visibility.
Montblanc Art Bags, Headquarter Hamburg
During the growth of the collection, six unique objects were created in 2002: on the occasion of the opening of the Montblanc Flagship Boutique on the Champs Elysées in Paris, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Sylvie Fleury, Gary Hume, David LaChapelle, Sam Taylor-Wood and Anne et Patrick Poirier each created a three meter high shopping bag sculpture made of aluminum and each imprinted with a design created by the artists. These MONTBLANC ART BAGS travel around the world and have already been presented at art events, and in front of Montblanc flagship stores. The project was continued with a seventh sculpture by Marcel van Eeden in 2011. On time for the tenth anniversary of the CUTTING EDGE ART COLLECTION, Montblanc is presenting three new MONTBLANC ART BAGS, created by the internationally renowned Chinese artists Zou Cao, Ma Jun and Huang Min.
A familiar face at the party: Finnish artist Jani Leinonen with me.
Montblanc’s dedication to promoting worldwide creative talent and young artists is truly commendable. Stay tuned for a detailed post on my outfit!
Photos: Courtesy of Montblanc, © Helge Mundt and © Sandra Bauknecht