Debuting at Watches & Wonders Shanghai and on view through April 19, Spacetime is commissioned by Jaeger-LeCoultre. The installation from American artist Michael Murphy celebrates the 90th anniversary of the watchmaker’s iconic Reverso.
The interactive work is made of dozens of suspended images of watch elements. As viewers move around it, they’ll see the Reverso Tribute Nonantième come into view—at two opposite angles, showcasing the signature dual face of the Reverso collection.
Patented in 1931, the swiveling Reverso case was created as a way to protect the watches of polo players in action. Inspired by the Art Deco movement, its sleek design was an instant classic, beloved by men and women alike.
“The Reverso Tribute Nonantième has a front standard presentation of time with hands, and then at the back when you turn the swiveling case you have a digital representation of time. You can see right away the parallel with the art piece of Michael Murphy,” said Catherine Rénier, Chief Executive Officer of Jaeger- LeCoultre. “Common values of precision have facilitated this collaboration and encounter.”
Murphy’s Spacetime shares in the complexity of fine watchmaking. “A lot of my art works explode and there is this narrative element, they’ll tell a story, there is a larger dialogue that happens between all the parts,” said the artist known for what he calls Perceptual Art. “For this one. it’s the watch itself and how it works and what its internal components look like.”
Previous pieces by the New York-based artist include Gun Country and The Immigrant, which address political and social issues through a variety of images and angles. “I’m trying to create a reflection of the world around me. I’m trying to inspire conversation and critical thinking about certain subject matters,” said Murphy. “I’m not telling people what to think, but more getting people to think. They are critical foils.”
His installation for Jaeger-LeCoultre marks the first time he’s specifically addressed the theme of time in a sculpture. “My work has always had a really close relationship with time. A viewer has to walk around my artwork to set it in motion,” Murphy said. “To date, this is my favorite piece I’ve ever made. In person, it’s incredibly magical and really rewarding to engage with.” Following its debut at Watches & Wonders in Shanghai, Spacetime will be shown internationally in key cities throughout 2021.