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Every year, Maison Ruinart welcomes an international 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 42 artworks.
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.
“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.
Through his drawings, neons and sculptures, he offers up a journey that is at once welcoming and singular, provoking surprising conversations about nature and the wine-making process. He makes us mindful of day-to-day environmental challenges, which Maison Ruinart is attentive to. Humour is one of the best means for spreading awareness.
He wanted to answer the question: what hides behind the developmental process of this exceptional beverage, which he was mostly familiar with in the emblematic form of a bottle?
David Shrigley is a British artist whose rudimentary but unmistakable line is used to observe his surroundings with incomparable irony, often accompanied by an absurd and irreverent sentence to challenge us and get our attention. Humour—be it naive or noir—is his instrument of choice and wielded with great precision.
While drawing is at the center of his practice, the artist also works across an extensive range of media including sculpture, large-scale installation, animation, painting, photography and music.
As part of his carte blanche, David Shrigley designed a limited edition work for a jeroboam of Blanc de Blancs: the very emblem of Ruinart’s exquisite taste. Each of these 30 boxes is numbered and signed by the artist. It is embellished with a draughtboard, referencing one of the drawings the artist created for Maison Ruinart.
Concealing the bottle, the black-and-white motif contains statements that are characteristic of David Shrigley's work. They use humour to reveal the hidden side of champagne production, the savoir-faire and the relationship with nature— aspects that marked the artist during his visits to Reims and the vineyards. He cleverly brings opposites together to underline their complementarity in producing the cuvées: sun and rain, bees and worms, humans and micro-organisms, air and soil. They respond to each other: a succession of mysterious, covert actions that intermingle inside the bottle.