Inspired by the five elements, artist Sun Xun has created a thought-provoking installation for the second annual Audemars Piguet Art Commission, writes Emilie Yabut-razon
housands of stalks of bamboo curve into the air between two palm-lined avenues, forming a roof over a snaking, undulating low-rise wall hung with works of art. It’s dusk and as the light fades, the glow from five large orbs becomes apparent, each globe alive with projections of different animated scenes—blooming flowers, rolling sea waves, miners at work, flames and crows, and ants on a rock. Mystical and mesmerising, this installation at Art Basel in Miami Beach is the work of Chinese artist Sun Xun, who was inspired by the five elements—metal, wood, fire, water and earth—in conceptualising it. Titled Reconstruction of the Universe, it is the second edition of Audemars Piguet’s Art Commission, a project the watchmaker launched in 2015 to “challenge artists to explore and visualise the parallel themes of complexity, precision, and links between science, art and nature.”
The installation also incorporates a series of woodcut images and 300 knives displayed on a white wall that highlighting the processes through which Xun brings his art to life: stopmotion animated films created with paintings, woodcuts and traditional Chinese ink and charcoal drawings. The pièce de résistance is a 3D animation called Time Spy for which Xun and his team in Beijing created more than 10,000 frames, each individually cut by hand.
We are led to a seating area at the end of the installation space facing a large freestanding screen and are handed 3D glasses specially designed by Xun with a red lens and a blue lens. The show starts. As eerie orchestral music plays, the scenes appear in a