These days, time has become an increasingly fluid concept, and Gucci, a brand that has long respected the intricate delicacy of watchmaking and timekeeping, recognized that this might be an opportunity to revisit our collective relationship to it. So, the fashion house has invited revered artists from all over the world to create works of art representing Gucci’s iconic G-Timeless automatic watch.
There are as many as eight variations of the timepiece, coming with a 38mm or 42mm case. Three models boast an 18ct yellow-gold case with black onyx, brown tiger’s eye, or malachite green stone dial, while five other variants have a lacquered metal case and a stone dial with blue lapis lazuli or black onyx. Each piece is made in Switzerland with an exacting attention to detail.
In the works below, the artists use the G-Timeless watch as a jumping off point to expand upon their representations of what time looks like—now that it feels more malleable.
ELLE interviewed three of the artists involved in the project to get an inside perspective on their creative process and vision.
Oda Sonderland, of Oslo, discovered anime and manga in her early teens and immediately became obsessed. She started to draw female figures inspired by these Japanese characters, often versions of herself or imaginary friends. Today she uses watercolors to explore her relationship with a fantasy world and her own anxieties, capturing her feelings in a style that’s somewhere between reality and dream.
“I love folklore,” she explains. “These stories often contain a lot of nonsense, which reminds me of dreams. This kind of playful narrative is what I try to recreate in my paintings.”
Her ethos is evident in the two pieces she has created exclusively for ELLE and Gucci. The first is a tribute to the vanitas genre (see main top image), a macabre still-life style that was popularized in the 17th century; the second (above) is inspired by the dreamy snowy landscapes you can see in Norway during the winter.
For the first painting, Sonderland incorporated bees, a prominent emblem for Gucci, into her work. “I see them as a symbol of rebirth and eternal life,” she says. “They do not live as individuals but as a community. They accept death in a way that is very difficult for humans; they understand their role as an integral part of something bigger that will continue forever in the cycle of nature.”
David Macho is a conceptual artist who calls himself “a contemporary anarchist.”
“When I talk about my work, I like to refer to the apocalypse, because I think biblical events are a good prelude to telling stories,” he says.
For Macho, the apocalypse has less to do with hell and fire, and more with people coming together in troubled times—something that is particularly appropriate during the COVID-19 crisis. “It’s about the feeling of community, the idea of enjoying something we like without feeling judged,” he says. “Even if we are in the middle of a global pandemic, I say we should try to see the world as a child would do: with curiosity about the future, despite fear.”
From drawing and rotoscope to collage and animation, Winnie Chi uses a multitude of creative methods to form brightly-colored worlds where genderless creatures dance freely, unlimited by time and space.
“Through my work, I wanted to show what would have happened if a time machine had brought us back to before the pandemic broke out,” she says. “Is there anything we could have done then to change the current situation? The bee here represents a sort of space-time switch that allows the characters to catapult themselves into another dimension.”
For Chi, the serendipitous timing of Gucci’s invitation to join the project played into her theme of time travel. “Two days before receiving the invitation from Gucci, I had seen a gold watch signed by the House that made me think of painting a journey through time,” she remembers. “As I was about to finish the drawing, Gucci’s email arrived.”
Rediscover what time means to you with the Gucci G-Timeless collection.