SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL CHINA RESIDENCY May - November 2014
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Residency Program is designed to bring together talented artists from around the world to experience a unique cultural environment dedicated to contemporary art. Selected artists are invited to live and work in specially designed workshop studios for a period of up to six months, in a community of eighteen people from all artistic horizons and national origins. By bringing together this prestigious setting and the creators of art, the Program aims to situate art at the very heart of an urban space dominated by luxury goods.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Residency Program offers artists, who are shaping the luxury of tomorrow, the opportunity to counteract peripheral isolation and develop creative exchange by living and working together in a dedicated environment in one of Shanghai’s most prestigious locations. Two floors have been reserved for this purpose in a legendary landmark building in Shanghai, China. Under a concept developed by Swatch Group, the former Palace Hotel (later known as the Peace Hotel South Building) has been restored to its original splendor. Now known as the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, it is located directly on the Bund, once the heart of old Shanghai and today the luxury mile in one of the biggest and most dynamic cities in the world.
Art and its propagation are of intrinsic importance to the Swatch brand. The link between watches and the luxury of art was first introduced by Swatch with its concept of “the world’s smallest canvas”.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Residency Program welcomes a broad range of cultures, artistic styles and media. Artists are under no obligations with respect to the organization or nature of the work undertaken during their residency. They are free to engage in individual or joint projects and to work according to their own schedule and plans. All participants will be asked to leave an artistic “trace” of their visit at the end of their stay, but will be completely free to choose how to do so.
The main focus of the Residency is on creative exchange. Artists are encouraged to engage in collaborative work and discussion and to interact as a dynamic artistic community so as to enrich the creativity of the group as well as each other’s work. Communication, confrontation, observation and discovery should challenge the artists and enable them, in this vibrant artistic and cultural environment, to build upon their existing skills and extend the boundaries of their art.
Under a concept developed by Swatch Group, the former Palace Hotel (later known as the Peace Hotel South Building) has been restored to its original splendor. Now known as the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, it is located directly on the Bund, once the heart of old Shanghai and today the luxury mile in one of the biggest and most dynamic cities in the world.
'The opportunity that the residency affords me is the mixture of creation and contemplation both collaboratively and individually. To be at the Swatch studios, perched as they are with a bird's eye view out over The Bund, the river and Pudong, symbols of Shanghai constantly balancing its own sense of past, present and future. The perfect point of a view in a city going through a radical transformation within a widen global context. What happens right here has implications for the future of us all.'
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Shanghai China: Caitlin Reilly Artist in Residence
Scratching the Surface Portrait of Caitlin Reilly A film by Dominique Othenin-Girard
SHOKAY RESIDENCY China June 2014 - 2015
The Shokay artist in residence initiative came through their desire to share SHOKAY's experiences with the world, to inspire others through a greater understanding of the origins of SHOKAY's own inspiration.
SHOKAY's mission has always been clear: to revolutionize the yak fibre industry by creating the highest quality and most socially responsible products made from yak down.
Developed from this residency was 'Threaded' A collaboration between Caitlin and Chinese and Tibetan artists. Caitlin travelled to Qinghai on the Tibetan plateau and to Chongming Island nearby Shanghai, working with the yak herding community, spinners and knitters to create a multi-layered and diverse body of new work exploring the links between these communities at the heart of textile production in China. The resulting exhibition of found object sculpture, hand woven yak down works, drawings and paintings are held in the Shokay collection at the Creative Workshop on Chongming Island.
“This was a step outside my comfort zone of the private studio setting to the open studio of these diverse rural areas. Being able to work with Chinese artists, travelling to these different communities that are so far removed, yet share this common experience of a culture and history tied to textile production… using my art to thread it all together in this cultural and community exchange... to move beyond words and to create this lasting record for everyone involved… completely inspired me and has left me forever changed.”
Visiting Chongming Island in China an hour out of Shanghai for the first time in February 2014 with Shokay, fueled ideas and gave an introduction to the community I stayed and interacted with in an arts exchange from June - November 2014 as part of a residency with Shokay, (www.shokay.com) T
The symbol the 'Knot of Eternity' was drawn into the cement cornice above an old barn. Seeing this simple elegant cultural and historical marker triggered many of the 'Threaded' project concepts. Making frottage rubbings and drawings of symbols and other markings and patterns we saw on the streets of Chongming Island create interesting textual histories and diarise the every day experiences. Responding and collaborating with the communities of knitters on Chongming Island was at the heart of my arts practice living and experiencing the every day building friendships and creatively exploring ways of expression together.
Caitlin Reilly SHOKAY Artist in Residency
SHOKAY’s Artist in Residence program is a collaboration with artists, to share the extraordinary richness of the Qinghai region and it’s people, and to tell the story of SHOKAY’s unique blend of East and West. This video introduces the 2014 Artist in Residence: Caitlin Reilly.
SHOKAY, which means yak down in Tibetan, is the world's first socially responsible textiles brand that focuses on developing premium products made from yak down. They both design their own products for the SHOKAY Collection and partner with other brands and designers to use their yak yarn in their own collections.
SHOKAY yak down derives its unique origins from the mountainous Himalayan regions of western China.Their fibers are hand-combed from the yaks that dwell there, and which continue to serve as a life source for their Tibetan herders. From this down comes a soft and beautiful fabric, unlike any other.They source their fibers directly from Tibetan communities in the Qinghai region to ensure the highest quality, traceability, and social impact.
Shokay's vision is ambitious: to revolutionize the yak yarn industry by thoughtfully engaging in each step of the manufacturing process. They care how the fibers are combed from the yak, how the fibers are sorted and cleaned, how they are spun into yarn, and how they are woven or knitted into finished products. Shokay believe's that by investing and reinvesting in their success into local communities, will ensure the opportunity of choice for future Tibetan generations.
The SHOKAY Knitting Cooperative on Chongming Island is a group of 50 women whose knitting work adds to their families’ incomes. It is run by Viola Zhang from her family home. The knitters are, in general, homemakers and the knitting is not only a source of income, but a focal point of the community, bringing them together to work on piece work projects for SHOKAY.
During the artist residency on Chongming Island we collaborated in experimental community workshops with the Shokay knitting cooperative. The images that follow are from the collection of found object sculptures that we made together. This collection is held with the community and was exhibited at the Basel Museum Shanghai http://www.shokay.com/shokay-basel-museum-exhibition
The Shokay Spinning Cooperative is a group of 16 women who are employed individually by Shokay to spin yak down into yarn. It is run by Llaryatso, from a small building in HeiMaHe (Black Horse River) village. Each spinner’s income depends on the amount of yak down she collects and brings to the cooperative, and the quality of the spun yarn. The spinners live in traditional herding families, and spinning is a part of their cultural heritage, as well as an important craft for making yarns for clothing and rugs. Cooperative members are mainly ethnic Tibetan. During my time with these women we made hand woven seats using materials sourced from local road side stores including rope and yak wool and we also made a large flag made from produce sacks these works reference all the women of the spinning community along with everyone who participated in the 2014 Qinghai expedition.