Every year, Maison Ruinart welcomes an internationally-celebrated contemporary artist in Reims to share his or her vision of the famous Maison.
Following Liu Bolin (2018) and Vik Muniz (2019), in 2020 British artist David Shrigley applies his unique take on Maison Ruinart across an ensemble of 36 drawings and acrylics—as well as three neons, two ceramics and one door. This great British creative, whose work evokes an almost irreverant vibe, is a witty artist processing the contemporary world through incomparable irony.
Fixing his gaze upon the longstanding Maison, David Shrigley allows us to rediscover Ruinart with his quirky and uncompromising humour.
His art shines a new light upon the vineyards, the heritage and the savoir-faire of the Maison. In Champagne, he roamed among the vines, explored the cellars, noted each expression and gesture. His works inquisitively examine the rituals and customs of those working in the field, as well as the oenologists and additional collaborators who bring Ruinart champagnes to life. With a sharp eye and great curiosity, he studied the well-kept secrets behind the creation of champagne.
“When making art on the subject of Champagne production: one must make several visits to the champagne region ; one must visit the crayères and the vine yards and the production facilities ; and one must ask questions of the people who work there and listen very carefully to what they say. And most importantly you must drink some champagne.” David Shrigley explained.
David Shrigley was fascinated by the underground world of crayères, the manmade labyrinths that date back centuries. At once functioning as chalk quarries, refuges and places of production and of aging for Maison Ruinart bottles, he wanted to leave multiple traces in these cellars, which have been classified as World Heritage sites by UNESCO.
David Shrigley varies his means of artistic expression: be it irrevocably funny affirmations in neon that evoke the invisible process of fermentation, or the poetry of monumental ceramics that capture the scent of the crayères, where Ruinart champagne bottles are aged.