MB&F has teamed with Chinese artist Xia Hang to create an intriguing and animated edition of MB&F’s Legacy Machine 1 (LM1). This watch features a mechanically animated power reserve that MB&F describes as an emotional metaphor for watch collectors. That is, when a mechanical watch is wound, life/energy is pumped into it. In the same way, Xia Hang designed a little articulating creature on operates as the power reserve on the dial of Legacy Machine 1. Part-alien, part-baby, when one winds the LM1 Xia Hang (bringing life/energy into it), the creature rises. As the power reserve diminishes, the little man gradually slumps over, until his head almost hits the ground…time to rewind and breathe life back into him!
It is quite a clever piece of work, or as MB&F aptly calls it “performance art”. The creature — surely a major technical and artistic challenge to actually craft — is made of aluminum and measures just 4mm high. This is not only due to aluminum’s light weight but also for aesthetic reasons: after milling the three separate components from a solid block of aluminium, they are polished to a result that is very similar to Xia Hang’s other chrome-plated stainless steel sculptures.
“I call these little men ‘comma men’, and their distinctive shape comes from a selection of art I created from 2005 to 2008. Commas do exist in Chinese writing and for me the ‘comma man’ represents a chubby boy.”
– Xia Hang
The head, shoulders, back and chest of ‘Mr. Up’ (as the power reserve indicator in known when wound), all bend down – thanks to a concealed hinge – towards the horizontal as he becomes tired and Mr. Up becomes Mr. Down.
As a reminder, Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode developed the LM1 calibre, which features the world’s first vertical power reserve and allows completely independent setting – including minutes – of both time displays.
LM1 Xia Hang is two limited editions of 12 pieces each, in red or white gold, priced at 99,000 CHF per (about $110,000). Eac piece is accompanied by a pair of full-size (approximately 15cm / 6” high) sculptures of Mr. Up and Mr. Down in polished stainless steel and signed by the artist.
“Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Hang is the first time (and hopefully not the last) that there has been a
cross-pollination between a MB&F M.A.D. Gallery artist (Xia Hang) and a MB&F watch (LM1). In
curating these amazing artists at our M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva, it opens a world of possibilities in
possible co-creations with MB&F’s Machines”
Great job guys…MB&F “performance art” at its finest.
Did You Know?
Xia Hang Xia Hang was born in 1978 in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China. He started painting when he was just 10 years old and went to art college in 1997. In 2002 Xia Hang graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in China. His graduation work was a cluster of comma-shaped men made from mirror-polished stainless steel, the first of the highly distinctive forms that have now culminated in the power reserve indicator of Legacy Machine N°1. Xia Hang also graduated with a Masters of Fine Art from the Sculpture Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China. Since he began sculpting, Xia Hang has had an affinity for steel, drawn to it by its strength and high polish. He explains, “I have always been interested in metal. Perhaps I am drawn to the shine of metal and its durability. Metal is much stronger than stone or wood, yet it is still very malleable. I think that the changeable dynamics of metal are similar to the characteristics of humans. This is why I choose to work with metal.” Xia Hang believes that his sculptures should be considered like toys. He wants people to touch his art, to play with it. Highlighting this philosophy, Hang’s 2008 exhibit was called “Please don’t touch”, with the “don’t” crossed out. While we may view Xia Hang’s creations as aliens, he sees them as babies. Fat babies. via MB&F. all pics by MB&f