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Who could be better suited to showcasing the Crayères and cellars of the House of Ruinart as a UNESCO World Heritage Site than a photographer?
With his eye for perfection and reverence, the choice of Erwin Olaf became evident. Dutch multidisciplinary artist Erwin Olaf emphasises precision in all visual elements — painterly lighting, flawless hair and make-up, settings that create an allure of serenity — but these highly stylised, polished depictions always have a subtext, addressing social issues, societal taboos and gender politics.
On his first visit to Reims, Erwin was fascinated and impressed by the depth and immensity of the crayères, preferring to concentrate on the details of their prehistoric natural formation and the traces left by man.
His work for the House of Ruinart is original and through his camera’s lens he tells the extraordinary story of the crayères Ruinart.
This multi-talented photographer, with his very cinematographic approach to photography, has created, besides 26 images of the Ruinart crayères, an animated image paying tribute to the first collaboration in 1896 between the House of Ruinart and the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha.
Using the poster designed by Mucha 120 years ago as a guide, the celebrated photographer reinterprets it for Ruinart by creating an artwork designed for the cellar-box. The curves engraved subtly in the chalk-coloured wood recall the many arabesques of Mucha’s style.