In an attempt to evoke the forests of La Vallée de Joux, Errazuriz made a huge wooden sculpture in the shape of a tree in 2017. It was made using both conventional and avant-garde techniques. Changing seasonally, the tree presiding over the area gave each Art Basel exhibition throughout the year a distinctive atmosphere and personality.
Sebastián Errazuriz is a born artist. Chilean by birth and English by training, his inventiveness, discipline and prodigious talent have made him one of Latin America’s best-known artists. He is noted for his work on large-scale public art, motorbikes, political works and even women’s shoes. He was only 28 when his work was sold at Sotheby’s Important Twentieth Century Design auction, becoming only the second South American to do so.
The tree that was designed for Audemars Piguet started as a straight, real tree, which I bought, cut, chopped up and cut again. All those boards were glued together and formed a block. Once we had a block, it took six months to build a complete tree on the computer. Then we introduced robots (Kuka), which started carving and removing material from the master block until we produced a tree again.
The sculpture is the culmination of highly automated technology (the robotic arms cut the elegant limb from CAD drawings) and meticulous manual labour. Errazuriz meticulously sculpted the grain by hand to mimic what can be seen in nature.
Cutting a natural tree once it has reached full maturity, removing the bark, cutting it into neat pieces, machining it to the required thickness and then smoothing it all out are the various steps involved in creating “Second Nature”. Finally, the pieces are joined together to form a sculptor’s block. The excess material has to be removed gradually so that a completely new and different tree can be carved and polished.
“Second Nature is an incredibly intricate replica of the real thing, combining state-of-the-art craftsmanship and talent with digital technology. It is the decision to undergo the absurd task of painstakingly duplicating what nature achieves so flawlessly and with such ease using excessive methods.
“Second Nature” is also another illustration of Audemars Piguet’s dedication to helping creatives realise their ideas.
“I’m working hard to establish that platform so that we can all participate,” said Sebastian Errazuriz. Eighty per cent of my time is focused on technology and software. I’m working with a group of engineers to create the platform for the future augmented reality that will allow us all to use it in the background.