Artist portrait by Farah Al Qasimi, 2022. © Courtesy of the artist, the High Line and Audemars Piguet
The artist’s first public sculpture will premiere on the High Line this June as part of the High Line’s 2022-2023 commissions
This June, artist Meriem Bennani will reveal her first public sculpture, Windy (2022), co-commissioned by High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary. Installed on the High Line at 24th Street in New York City, the sculpture will be on view through May 2023. Windy marks the first time High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary are co-curating and commissioning a public sculpture.
Merging magical realism, farcical humor, and techniques from a wide range of moving image genres, Bennani creates videos—often housed in colorful geometric steel sculptures—that tell stories about human behavior and our experiences both on and offline. 2 Lizards (2020), the artist’s most recent video series created at the start of COVID-19 in collaboration with filmmaker Orian Barki, became an overnight viral sensation as the work poignantly captured the experiences of quarantine and extreme isolation caused by the pandemic.
Windy on the High Line will present a shift in Bennani’s practice—marking her first public sculpture and her first stand-alone sculpture that does not include a video element. Inspired directly by the experience of being in New York City and walking on the High Line, Windy will maintain the artist’s characteristic absurdist humor and interest in animation while she focuses on the mechanics and kinetic energy of the sculpture itself.
The curators from High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary are working closely together with Bennani to develop the artwork. The collaboration highlights each program’s parallel mission: to invite an artist to commission a new artwork which pushes them to think creatively and further develop their practice.
Meriem Bennani, artist, says: “In developing the concept for Windy, I knew it could not be a static sculpture but needed to echo the dynamic and constant movements of the High Line. I wanted to play with New York City’s energy after the past couple years which alternated between engaging with it and carefully hiding from it. I also wanted to try something that presented me with new conceptual and technical challenges to expand my understanding of sculpture, moving image, and the creative possibilities of their shared interaction. I’m grateful for the support of High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary and for this opportunity to take my work in a new direction, on the occasion of my first public sculpture.”
Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator, High Line Art, says: “It’s such an exciting moment to see Meriem Bennani, an artist who engages with contemporary culture with incisive wit, expand her practice to new forms. This collaboration with Audemars Piguet Contemporary broadens the unique platform the High Line provides artists to present new creative works for a wide, public audience.”
Audrey Teichmann, curator at Audemars Piguet Contemporary, says: “High Line Art brings broad public awareness to artists working today—which is completely in line with Audemars Piguet Contemporary’s commitment to supporting artists and nurturing their creative development. We are so pleased, alongside Cecilia and her team, to collaborate with Meriem in her hometown of New York City on a sculpture that brings her work from the digital sphere to the public domain and represents a new chapter in her artistic practice. We are excited for visitors to the High Line to experience this dynamic and unique work in person.”
About Meriem Bennani
Meriem Bennani (b. 1988, Rabat, Morocco) is an artist based in New York. In 2022, in addition to Windy, she will present solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois (2022); and Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, England (2022). She has previously presented solo exhibitions at the Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin, Germany (2020); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France (2019); The Kitchen, New York, New York (2017); and MoMA PS1, New York, New York (2016). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at institutions including LAX, Los Angeles, California (2020); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (2020); and MAXXI National Museum of XXI Arts, Rome, Italy (2018). She has participated in major international exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York (2019), Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, Turin, Italy (2019); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2018); Biennale de Rennes, France (2018); and 11th Shanghai Biennale, China (2016).
About High Line Art
Founded in 2009, High Line Art commissions and produces a wide array of artwork, including sitespecific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programs, and a series of billboard interventions. Led by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, and presented by the High Line, the art program invites artists to think of creative ways to engage with the unique architecture, history, and design of the park, and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood and urban landscape.
For further information on High Line Art, please visit thehighline.org/art.
About the High Line
The High Line is both a nonprofit organization and a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Through its work with communities on and off the High Line, it is devoted to reimagining public spaces to create connected, healthy neighborhoods and cities.
Built on a historic, elevated rail line, the High Line was always intended to be more than a park. Visitors can walk through the gardens, view art, experience a performance, enjoy food or beverage, or connect with friends and neighbors—all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City.
Nearly 100% of the High Line’s annual budget comes through donations. The High Line is owned by the City of New York and is operate under a license agreement with NYC Parks.
About Audemars Piguet Contemporary
Audemars Piguet Contemporary commissions international artists to create contemporary artworks, fostering a global community of creators. The brand believes in the power of contemporary art to connect and be connected. Its patronage resonates with the talented artisan community that the Manufacture has supported and grown in the Vallée de Joux.
The team accompanies each commission process from inception to development to exhibition and builds experiences for audiences to engage with the work around the world. The resulting artworks belong to the artists and contribute to their body of work.
As with mechanical watches, commissioned artworks are about more than what you see. These works are sensitive to our ever-changing world. They are an opportunity for new creation, bringing together audiences and leading to conversations that go beyond first impressions.
Since 2012, Audemars Piguet Contemporary has nurtured exchanges with artists around the world including Aleksandra Domanović, Cao Fei, Kurt Hentschläger, Dan Holdsworth, Phoebe Hui, Ryoji Ikeda, Lars Jan, Theo Jansen, Alexandre Joly, Kolkoz, Robin Meier, Quayola, Cheng Ran, Arin Rungjang, Tomás Saraceno, Semiconductor, Jana Winderen and Sun Xun. Commissioned artworks have been presented worldwide, at major venues including Art Basel (of which Audemars Piguet has been an Associate Partner since 2013) in Hong Kong, Basel, Miami Beach; the Venice Biennale; Times Square, New York City; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; HeK (House of Electronic Arts), Basel; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; UCCA, Beijing; MAXXI, Rome; and Ars Electronica, Linz.
For more information, visit audemarspiguet.com/com/en/about/audemars-piguetcontemporary.html.
About Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Based in Le Brassus since 1875, the company has nurtured generations of talented craftspeople who have continuously developed new skills and techniques, broadening their savoir-faire to set rule-breaking trends. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, Audemars Piguet has created numerous masterpieces, testament to the Manufacture’s ancestral craftsmanship and forward-thinking spirit. Sharing its passion and savoir-faire with watch enthusiasts worldwide through the language of emotions, Audemars Piguet has established enriching exchanges among fields of creative practices and fostered an inspired community. Born in Le Brassus, raised around the world. For more information, visit audemarspiguet.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.