At the 2015 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie held in Geneva, Greubel Forsey introduced their Art Piece 1 paying tribute to Robert Filliou (1926 to 1987).
Who was Robert Filliou? Well, this Frenchman was described as a filmmaker, sculptor and Fluxus artist. Fluxus artists are described as those who combined different artistic media notably during the 1960s and such works are known to be non-commercial and anti-art.
Why did Greubel Forsey want to create a timepiece paying homage to Filliou? Well, it was for the Chapaeux! Exhibition “… which reactivates the Galerie Légitime of the Fluxus artist”, states the brand.
This “Chapeaux! A Tribute to Robert Filliou” exhibition brought together 14 contemporary artists as part of the FIAC or Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris which was produced by the Time Art Gallery Greubel Forsey and curated by Raphael Cuir.
By all accounts, Filliou must have been an extraordinary artist, especially after knowing that the good folks at Greubel Forsey made such a concerted effort to create a tribute piece for him.
Interestingly, the watch does have a certain character about it. On the dial side, it is “stamped with the principle of equivalence” that was important to Filliou – “well made, badly made, not made”.
Greubel Forsey decided on “badly made” simply because it contrasts with their obsession for high quality craftsmanship.
For those familiar with Greubel Forsey timepieces, especially those made in collaboration with the amazing micro-artist Willard Wigan, they will be familiar with the magnifying system found at the side of the case.
This magnifier will allow one to have an unobstructed view of Wigan’s unbelievable micro-sculpture. In this particular example, it is the miniature replica of Filliou’s Couvre Chef(s) d’oeuvre which he (Filliou) created in 1965 whereby what seems like cards are spewing out from a bowler hat.
On the case back of Art Piece 1, you’d have to look closer and discover the bas-relief profiles of those who embarked on this artistic adventure.
Is this watch “badly made” in any sense? The layman, us included, will probably beg to differ. This Robert Filliou Art Piece 1 looks good, seems to have been made with a a strong character and stands out for its expressiveness.
For us, it is definitely a piece of horological art.