Luminescence, colour and reflection fuse perfectly in “The Equation of Light, Decoded,” La Prairie’s dazzling artistic collaboration with light artist Chul-Hyun Ahn.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Luminescence, colour and reflection fuse perfectly in “The Equation of Light, Decoded,” La Prairie’s dazzling artistic collaboration with light artist Chul-Hyun Ahn.

One of the three installations by artist Chul-Hyun Ahn in collaboration with La Prairie and Art Basel Hong Kong, Light Drawing uses light and lines to evoke a graphic and precise geometric arrangement of atoms that constitute a molecule.

What do light and beauty have in common?

The obvious answer is radiance and luminous skin, which in all honesty, isn’t rocket science but the quest to achieve both has been an elusive one. What do art and beauty have in common? “Art is described as the pursuit of beauty,” muses artist Chul-Hyun Ahn. “And I believe that beauty can be redefined by the experience of art.”

Put this way, it seems quite natural that Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie should have a close relationship with art. In fact, its affinity dates all the way back to the brand’s genesis, when it came up with cobalt blue packaging inspired by French avant-garde artist, Niki de Saint Phalle, for its signature Skin Caviar line. Today, it celebrates a two-year-old partnership with Art Basel, the world’s leading art platform with exhibitions across the globe, for which it collaborates with artists to express the artistry of Swiss skincare.

Enter South Korean artist Ahn and the exhibition “The Equation of Light, Decoded” unveiled at Art Basel Hong Kong. La Prairie’s latest creative expression was commissioned to celebrate two new skincare creations—White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion and White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire.

Greg Prodromides, Chief Marketing Officer of La Prairie says: “This is a new chapter in La Prairie’s Science of Light—one which takes the relationship between beauty and light a step beyond—that has inspired us to enter into a very special artistic collaboration with Ahn.” 

An artist specialising in optical and light art, Ahn has created three unique artworks for the collaboration that fuse luminescence, colour and reflection—concepts that underlie both his and La Prairie’s encapsulation of infinite beauty. We find out more about his creations and the intricacies behind “decoding” the science of light. 

My Reading Room

4 Dots utilises layers of pigmented light filters to create a spectrum of colour, while the repetition of reflection depicts the loss of luminosity over time.

What is the idea behind your three works for La Prairie—Transparency, 4 Dots, and Light Drawing?

The first time I opened a White Caviar product, I was so impressed by the product’s very clean and sleek aesthetics. It inspired me to design Transparency. 4 Dots is from my ongoing series of dots, but this one highlights the colours of the scientific story behind the La Prairie collaboration. Light Drawing utilises light to evoke the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms that constitute a molecule. Basic shapes create a complex pattern of repetition that imitates the complex matrix of molecular bonds. I utilise reflection and luminosity to depict the beauty of the most basic building blocks of the universe.

What emotions do you want to evoke through the use of light?

My intent is to create an experience that evokes an emotional or intellectual response such as hopefulness, peace, beauty, meditation, and reflection. I hope that people feel curiosity and a need to discover, and that they carry that into their daily lives.

What techniques do you use to play with our perceptions of space and shape? 

I utilise many different techniques—particularly mirrors, lights, colour and geometric patterns that create a sense of physical depth and expansive space. Space is an essential aspect of my work as I create visual experiences that defy the limitations of the materials and call attention to the unseen and imperceptible forces in the world.

My Reading Room

 White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion; White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire, La Prairie. 

Why did you decide to create a circular shape for Transparency?

I was inspired by the circular shape of the White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire jar, which is to me the most perfect shape, a shape without a beginning or an end. It is simultaneously simple, yet complex in its meaning. It is a visual representation of cyclical time, and also evokes the shape of cells and atoms, the building blocks of life.

What is the link between your work and the La Prairie universe?

Through my collaboration with La Prairie, I wanted to emphasise the ability of light to illuminate and transform natural beauty. La Prairie uses the science of light to reveal the natural beauty of the skin. The works are a visual representation of unlimited possibility, enhanced by the science of light; they use simple materials to explore the visual phenomena that create beauty and meaning in our lives. 

My Reading Room

Chul-Hyun Ahn with Transparency, which depicts a portal of infinite reflection

How do the worlds of art and beauty intertwine in your world?

Art and beauty are intimately connected, they help to define each other and share the common quality of mystery and the unknown. The variety of perspectives that art encourages allows for beauty to take on different meanings and arrive in new and surprising forms. The viewer brings their own experience of beauty to the work, evoking unpredictable emotional responses that redefine beauty.

La Prairie strives to offer women timeless beauty. What does the notion of time represent to you?

The notion of timelessness is important to my work because I seek to create situations which transcend this particular moment. I hope that a person from any time or place can see the potential for change, personal growth and beauty in my work.