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From July 8th to October 6th, 2023, the Maison presents its exhibition “The Art of Movement. Van Cleef & Arpels, living instants, eternal forms” at the chi K11 art space in Wuhan. Featuring over 100 creations from its patrimonial collection and numerous archive documents, this selection illustrates the Maison’s constant quest to impart movement into precious materials. The visitor’s journey is divided into four themes: Human Odyssey, Nature Alive, Elegance and Abstract Movements.
Each of the four themes highlights a facet of movement explored by the Maison since its foundation.
The adventurous spirit of the early modern period – followed by the industrial era of the 19th century – gave rise to ever more sophisticated machines for exploring the world. Since its foundation in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has used its creations to accompany that bold human odyssey of wanderlust.
This idea of movement expanded to include depictions of the human body in motion: the rhythm of its positions, the beauty of its curves, its surging leaps. Twirling in tutus of precious stones or golden sequins, ballerinas have enlivened the Maison's universe since 1941. Dance remains an endless source of inspiration to this day.
Whether figurative or stylized, the Maison’s flora and fauna-inspired creations bear witness to its taste for living nature. Birds with delicate plumage and outspread wings flit across the sky, filling the air with poetry. Like snapshots, the animals that adorn clips, necklaces and bracelets appear to have been frozen in mid-action.
Floating on a precious breeze, gold feathers alight on shoulders, multiple flowers blossom on jacket lapels, or prepare to bloom on day or evening dresses. The floral compositions of the 1940s, with their joyful corollas, seem freshly picked.
A breath of life animates these jewels and art objects
Symbolic bird in Europe, the swan is synonymous with fidelity and love, a value the Maison has held dear since its founding. The design of this jewel is imbued with a strong sense of vitality. From its curvy neck and inclined head to its sinuous wings evoking immaculate tail feathers; from the lifelike gleam of its ruby eye to its yellow gold beak, this Swan clip is an ode to majestic elegance.
Since its creation, Van Cleef & Arpels has drawn inspiration from the world of couture, like a homage to its place of birth. One of the specificities of these jewels is an ability to transform to match different outfits.
The appearance of motifs inspired by passementerie gave rise to pieces that echo the movements of the body. Depicting bows and ribbons, they also illustrate the renascent femininity of the post-war period. Supreme examples of flexibility, jewels echoing serge fabric or rope mold themselves perfectly to women’s silhouettes.
Attentive to artistic movements throughout the 20th century, the Maison interpreted them in an original way, playing with shapes and materials. From the pure, rounded lines inspired by Modernism to the kinetic magic of the 1960s, Van Cleef & Arpels always played with the beholder’s gaze.
FOLLOWING THE RIBBON
To display this rare set of creations, the scenography echoes the theme of movement. Welcoming visitors at the entrance, a floating matte ribbon takes the shape of an ethereal flower. Inspired by the Silhouette Flower clip, an emblematic design imagined by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1930s, this anamorphosis unfolds to guide visitors on their journey throughout the four themes of the exhibition.
"Whether it is aesthetic, balletic, mechanical, or first dreamed before being drawn and masterly rendered in precious materials, movement has always captivated and still fascinates the Maison"
Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels
No. 628 Jiefang Avenue,
Qiaokou District, Wuhan, China
From July 8th to October 6th, 2023
Monday to Sunday: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Free entrance, under reservation.