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As part of Ruinart’s 2022 Carte Blanche Program, Danish artist Jeppe Hein conceived of an installation that adapted his sensorial journey at Maison Ruinart in Champagne, France. “RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW” is a participatory installation that invokes the four elements—earth/soil, water/rain, air/wind and fire/sun—essential to the process of making the legendary champagne. The champagne house, a host partner of major contemporary art fairs of the year, invites guests to Art Basel this week to experience the evolving exhibition.
Based in Berlin, the Danish artist is ever-inspired by the conceptual art and minimalism of the 1970s. Hein’s own works change the viewer’s relationship to their surroundings and encourage thoughtful dialogue. He said of this special project, “This is an invitation to embrace the moment. To activate all our senses. To open our hearts and reflect. We are right here, right now. We share this moment: by listening to our inner sensations, tasting an artistic experience, watching our reflections and contemplating our thoughts. We are connected to the elements: earth, air, sun and water. We are connected to each other. We are connected to our deeper selves. And this experience lifts us up, like champagne bubbles floating in the air.”
The immersive project gives guests a one-of-a-kind art fair experience: putting one’s arm into a mirror foil might result in discovering a piece of chalk or a small drop of oil in the palm of the hand. With the chalk, guests can approach the wall and draw the expression on their face, sharing the unfamiliar experience with fellow fairgoers. The drop of oil might exude the aroma of grapes, wind, water, earth, or sun, bringing back memories and experiences from long ago. The artist hopes that drawing on the senses will carry people away, to simply be right here, right now.
As part of his interpretation of Maison Ruinart, Hein transformed the wooden box containing the iconic Jeroboam bottle of Ruinart Rosé into a work of artistic expression. The box was whitened with chalk taken directly from the walls of Ruinart’s chalk pits in Reims, giving the wood a ceruse-like appearance. A rosé-colored mirror label appears, sans writing, recalling the bubbles of the art installation. The box also serves as the base for a rose-colored mirror sculpture, evoking the color and sparkle of the champagne, and is a testimony to the fleeting moment of tasting.
This year, the supplementary Food for Art initiative brought five international chefs to Hein’s studio in Berlin. The artistic and culinary conversation was brought together by Ruinart’s cuvées. The public will have the opportunity to experience Food For Art at Art Basel. Born in the Age of Enlightenment, the world’s first champagne house has been linked to the world of art from the very beginning. Dom Thierry Ruinart, uncle to founder Nicolas Ruinart, obtained the title of “Master of Art” in 1674, at the age of seventeen. Each year, through its Carte Blanche program, the Maison invites international artists to reinterpret its values. To begin the countdown to its 300th anniversary, the oldest champagne house launched an artistic programme in 2019 in the Champagne region, inviting artists to create in the land of its roots. Ruinart supports local contemporary creation and emerging artists whose understanding of nature sheds light on our vision of the world.