Those who followed my FORBES Snapchat Takeover in Paris last month got a glimpse of the unveiling celebration for Ruinart’s artistic collaboration for 2017. Here is the story of Ruinart’s “message in a bottle” and Jaume Plensa’s artistic message to the world, which will be shown at major art fairs, including Frieze and Art Basel, this year.
Maison Ruinart is the world’s first established champagne house and is based in Reims, France. The fascinating history dates back to 1729, when it was founded by Nicholas Ruinart, who was inspired by his uncle Dom Thierry Ruinart, a visionary, Benedictine monk.
Today, 288 years later, Ruinart has become one of the world’s finest and most celebrated champagnes. Their ‘Blanc de Blancs’ is the first choice for today’s art society – not only because of its distinct taste and Ruinart’s long-standing involvement in the art world, but also because of its imaginative limited edition bottle, which is released each year. For over a decade, Ruinart has collaborated with an artist each year who creates an original work of art for Maison Ruinart and a matching bottle cover for its Blanc de Blancs. This year, the selected artist is Jaume Plensa.
Jaume Plensa is known and recognized for his silhouettes of seated or kneeling bodies sculptures who seem to scrutinize the horizon in a meditative manner, much like the contemporary thinkers. He uses this allegorical form to evoke the spirit of Maison Ruinart and that of its originator, Dom Thierry Ruinart.
I met with the world famous sculpturist in Paris for an interview about his new work for Ruinart:
Mr. Plensa, letters make up the body of your sculptures. What message do you want to send out to the world with this?
With this family of art works (each created using seven different alphabets) I am sending a positive message about diversity to the world. I love to imagine how well we are, when we are together. It doesn’t matter what your religion is, what your background is or where you are from. We are constantly exchanging information, thanks to our diversity. The more diverse you are, the more you can exchange. That’s the main message of the work.
What is the inspiration behind the sculpture for Ruinart?
It was a terrific experience to work with Ruinart. It was so interesting because both worlds are completely different and then I realized that we have a lot in common. Both worlds are linked to an amazing tradition. Ruinart is strongly connected to a specific geographic location. You can’t produce the same champagne two meters away. The heritage is special and it has a story to tell. You can taste the story and the heritage when you drink the champagne. And you feel it. That’s the message in a bottle that is sent all over the world to different people, to different cultures and different traditions. This also happens with my art and with this sculpture. In an artistic way, it tells a message of positivity and diversity and will be sent all over the world. Each person looking at it will receive this message and create their own thoughts around it. This is the vision I had when creating it.
Also, what’s better than opening a conversation with a glass of champagne and discussing a work of art? Both bring a certain happiness to people. The message in this is happiness and that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but rather, where you want to go together.
The shape of the sculpture is a result of my free mind and reimagination of Dom Ruinart. I work a lot in public spaces and I like to imagine Ruinart in a public place.
What is your greatest vision or dream when it comes to your art works?
My dream is to have the opportunity to step away from the earth a little and see my works as sparkling stars shining bright from different places all over the world and to see that they bring light and happiness to many people.
From Paris to Hong Kong: Last week the sculpture was showcased at Ruinart’s Collector’s Lounge during Art Basel Hong Kong.