American contemporary artist Daniel Arsham is Hublot’s newest brand ambassador. Based in New York City, Daniel is known for his works across painting, sculpture, installation, and film. He has frequently explored the concept of time throughout his oeuvre, particularly through his Connecting Time series of works and his iconic Hourglass.
To commemorate the new partnership, Daniel has unveiled a temporary 20-metre sundial in the snowscape of the Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt – situated in the shadows of the Matterhorn, the most recognizable peak in the Swiss Alps. The installation – titled Light & Time – uses natural elements – snow and light – to “merge the roots of timekeeping with the craftsmanship in land art.”
The choice of Zermatt as the location for the collaboration was not by chance. Zermatt is a Hublot town. The resort carries Hublot signage and keeps time with Hublot clocks. Visitors use the Hublot-Express high-speed chairlift that climbs 954 metres up the mountain to the top station. On four occasions since 2017, Hublot has introduced limited-edition watches at Zermatt. The Hublot Boutique at Zermatt, with its wood-panelled, chalet-style interior, sets the backdrop for the presentation event.
Arsham’s functioning outdoor timekeeping installation at Zermatt is based on the shadows cast by the quartz crystal-shaped obelisk. As the sun moves throughout the day, the shadow cast by the central pointer indicates the time in the raked snow. The snow and light sundial echos Hublot’s design language, integrating familiar cues such as the famous screws that hold the Big Bang’s bezel in place. The installation is only visible from the top of the mountain. To view it, art lovers will have to use the ski lifts.
Commenting on his new installation, Arsham said: “Physically, the temporary installation will capture something of how fleeting time can feel, but it will also be lasting, creating a memory that transcends the passing of the seconds, minutes, hours and days in all those who make the journey up the mountain to see it.”
Arsham also happens to be a long-time admirer of the Hublot brand. “I’ve been watching Hublot and the projects it has supported in the contemporary art space with great interest for many years, and admired its audacious approach to watchmaking, design and craft. The Art of Fusion remains one of the smartest projects in watchmaking. I love how Hublot crafts ideas, influences and materials together to create unique, defining forms.”
This year is significant year for Daniel. It marks 20 years since he was awarded the Gelman Trust Fellowship Award and won the prestigious GNMH Award, bringing him to the attention of the art world. He has since become one of the industry’s most influential and in-demand contemporary artists.
He studied at Cooper Union in New York and has exhibited in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, Los Angeles and London. His past collaborators include fashion designer Hedi Slimane, artistic director of Dior Kim Jones, Porsche, and Pokémon. His work is known for what commentators have described as a ‘mythical contemporary archeology,’ whereby he takes familiar forms and erodes or reforms them.
“We’ve been hoping this day would come!” said a joyful Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot’s CEO. “Daniel Arsham is one of the most exciting creative talents working in contemporary art today and we’re so excited to welcome him into the Hublot Family and call him a Hublot Ambassador. His bold, audacious, groundbreaking portfolio of work is a perfect match for Hublot and our approach to watch creation: first, unique, different. We’ve no doubt this will become a hugely productive collaboration and we can’t wait to explore it further with Daniel and with Hublot and art fans.”