La Prairie at Art Basel: Manon Wertenbroek x Niki de Saint Phalle.
A groundbreaking 20th century Contemporary artist, Niki de Saint Phalle is a key artistic inspiration for La Prairie; her striking use of cobalt blue throughout her work is the inspiration for the rich, translucent cobalt blue vessels of the La Prairie Skin Caviar Collection.
The origin of this inspiration is a story of serendipity. It the early 1980s, the La Prairie creative team shared offices with the fragrance house producing Ms de Saint Phalle’s namesake scent. In observing Ms de Saint Phalle’s work on her fragrance bottles, they had an epiphany: her signature cobalt blue, the colour of opulence, of royalty, of serenity, was precisely the colour needed to express the indulgence of what would become La Prairie’s icon. In collaboration with Niki de Saint Phalle and her fragrance team, they chose this sublime, rich hue for the very first Skin Caviar jar.
La Prairie celebrated the lasting influence of Niki de Saint Phalle’s work through a collaboration with Swiss artist Manon Wertenbroek, resulting in the creation of a series of exclusive artworks. Born in Lausanne in 1991, the Swiss artist Manon Wertenbroek, now based in Paris, creates work that explores the emergence of emotions and the accompanying physiological responses within the context of human interactions.
Manon Wertenbroek has created works for La Prairie that pay tribute to indulgence, aesthetics and technological, cutting-edge techniques. All three art pieces pay homage to cobalt blue, a colour omnipresent throughout the body of work of Niki de Saint Phalle, another avant-garde female artist with Swiss ties and a key artistic influence for La Prairie.
Engendering a dialogue between the works of these two pioneering artists, an installation featuring Manon Wertenbroek’s three works were presented alongside Niki de Saint Phalle’s iconic Pouf serpent bleu at the 2018 edition of Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland (June 14 – 17, 2018).
In “Mirrors”, Wertenbroek explores the infinite relationship between two reflective surfaces rising to the eye. The reciprocity is further enhanced as a pair of faces and hands that denote an exchange of ideas and knowledge.
In “Window Glimpse”, deeply traced lines recall the parallel frames of so many lined-up windows. The organic, hand-drawn forms of flowers soften this hard angularity, recalling the stolen glimpses we have of ourselves as we catch our reflection in a shop window, hoping no one notices the momentary indulgence.
In “Blue Portrait”, an empty, undrawn face of another confronts us, forcing us to create our own image. A second look reveals that the blue of the figure’s hair splits and fragments, appearing on competing planes. As with any social interaction, closer scrutiny leads to an ever-multiplying chain of reflections. The technology used to create this effect speaks to Wertenbroek’s adherence to pure, precise elements of design.