Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
June 3, 2018
Maison Ruinart has been collaborating with artists since 1896, when Alphonse Mucha created an art nouveau piece for the house. Since then, art and champagne have been intrinsically linked for the wine maker. Joining a list of artists like Erwin Olaf and Jaume Plensa, most recently, is the Chinese artist Liu Bolin. The President of the brand, Frédéric Dufour, shared his interest in revealing the invisible human touch behind each and every bottle.
WHITEWALL: How was the artist Liu Bolin chosen as the artist of the year with Ruinart?
FRÉDÉRIC DUFOUR: I was seeking an artist able to reveal the invisible, i.e. all the human work and the link with nature behind each bottle of Ruinart. Liu Bolin is an artist with a deep commitment and connection to the environment and with strong human values. The idea behind this collaboration was to capture the ties that bind history, culture, nature, dedication and know-how.
WW: Were you able to witness the way he worked while he visited Reims over the course of 10 days? If so, what were your impressions?
FD: Yes, I did. It started with a first visit in June 2017 when Liu Bolin discovered the Maison Ruinart in Reims. He had may questions about the wine-making process and the history of the house. That’s the time when he chose the locations for his photographs. It was followed by a 10-day artistic residency in The Maison during the summer 2017 when the photographs were taken. I was very curious about his work and technique. It took up more than to two days to create some photographs. I am very impressed by the result.
WW: The artist chose to highlight the labor of love and the people that make Ruinart. What was that experience like for those working at Ruinart?
FD: Ruinart gave Liu Bolin “carte blanche” to realize his works of art. He chose to represent himself along with the workers because he was totally impressed by their expertise, their savoir-faire and their dedication. The people in the company were first surprised by the proposal and then they felt a real connection and a joy to work with him. It was an amazing experience for them. Those who had the chance to be in the pictures now feel incredibly proud. It is à once in your life time experience.
Liu Bolin is an artist with a deep commitment and connection to the environment and with strong human values.Frédéric Dufour
Liu Blin, over the course of 10 days while visited Reims, created eight images—camouflaging himself and Ruinart’s employees against immersive backgrounds of the cellars, vineyards, production lines, and more.
WHITEWALL: How will the images Liu Bolin created be presented?
FRÉDÉRIC DUFOUR: Maison Ruinart is the proud partner of 31 art fairs and art events all around the world. This gives the perfect opportunity to showcase the collaboration with Liu Bolin through our art lounges. The work will be shown in 15 different locations. For them, we create every time a specific set-up to evoke an artist studio and the way Liu Bolin is working including some of the original clothes and tools he used to create the artworks on show.
WW: What was it like seeing Liu work with Alphonse Mucha’s art nouveau work—seeing the first collaborator of art with Ruinart engage with the most recent?
FD: I really enjoy the fact that Liu Bolin chose to represent himself with the first art commission of Ruinart created in 1896 by Alphonse Mucha. Ruinart likes the dialogue between its almost 300 years of history and the contemporary vision of an artist. That brings a fresh look on things. It’s like a new take on our heritage.
WW: Why is it important for Ruinart to carry on that tradition started in 1896 of engaging with contemporary artists?
FD: Through its commissions and purchases, Ruinart has supported art and artists since the beginning of its history. The recent period is totally in line with this commitment.
As the first-established house of champagne, with almost 300 years of tradition, creativity and new talents are always welcome and Even key to ensure the modernity of the brand.