“My relationship with images is not really linked with the history of art, but rather with memory. I always work with images from the collective memory, archetypes. A picture that someone has already seen is perceived on a deeper level. That’s why I use lots of images from the history of art, pop art, the history of photography, and so on. Things we think we’ve seen millions of times.”
After receiving his invitation from Ruinart, Vik Muniz spent much time in thought and observation, then began the creative process for his artist’s residency in Reims. He set out to express through his works what couldn’t be conveyed using language.
During the 2018 harvest, Vik Muniz spent many hours in Sillery, a long-standing vineyard belonging to Maison Ruinart, and one of the northernmost in Europe, on the Montagne de Reims. He worked alongside Frédéric Panaïotis, Cellar Master at Ruinart. Vik was extremely curious and, as always, fascinated by nature. He asked Frédéric about the vineyard and was surprised to learn that the Champagne region has a harsh climate that would seem unsuitable for growing crops. However, this adversity actually brings out the best in the vine.
Enraptured by the long process required to produce Ruinart champagne, the Brazilian artist captured the relationship between humans and nature, personified by Frédéric Panaïotis, whose hands are the subject of Vik’s art. A multi-talented artist, Vik Muniz created a series of works inspired by the idea of flow, which is based on vine stock represented with pieces of blackened wood and charcoal. He also brought new life to leaves of chardonnay vines - the emblematic grape in the Ruinart taste - mixed with other natural elements found in the Sillery vineyard.
The discovery of the crayères chalk cellars used by Maison Ruinart since the 18th century and its stacked bottles inspired Vik Muniz to create an in-situ installation. It is here where he understood the connection between the chalk underground and the vines above ground symbolized by the notion of flow.