One of our earliest active memories in the last fifty years of alcohol brands collaborating with an artist must be the one between Andy Warhol and Absolut Vodka in 1985. It was set to be the one of the most successful advertising campaigns of the 20th century, with many iconic collaborations between artists and alcohol in the years after. Looking back a century before that, we find Ruinart as the frontier of an historical partnership. It kicks off a long lasting international trend of relationships between art and champagne with painter and illustrator Alphonse Mucha during the art nouveau period in France, an everlasting story that enlightens and connects across time and places, between heritage and contemporary. In Ruinart’s perspective: a tribute to the Maison and to the artist’ interpretation of the brand’s history. This year, the Carte Blanche invite was sent to artist Eva Jospin, widely known for her predominant work with cardboard materials to create geological and architectural worlds beyond imagination.
Champagne Maison Ruinart, rich in its history and knowledge on vegetal landscape and perfectionist taste, has touched on important cultural references since 1729. With an ancient expertise in winemaking and underground architecture, Champagne Maison Ruinart creates the perfect gesture and environment for creative interpretation of the artist. Combine this with the sublime artistic approach of Eva Jospin’s backgrounds in sculpting and architecture with miracles fantasizing objects and you create a quintessential climate for a multidisciplinary and immersive world that Eva invites you to.
With the importance of the Maison’s mission to enlighten life with a better understanding of nature and the living elements that it creates, it’s linked to the winery’s relation with the soil and the human connection. Eva’s compassionate approach to the Maison referred perfectly to the intertwining relationship between champagne and craft, paying tribute to the scenery and the landscape of the Champagne region, yet finding the interconnection between architecture and and environmental understanding.
For the PROMENADE(S) Carte Blanche with Ruinart, Eva Jospin used a variety of different artistic elements, consisting out of embroidery, Carmontelle, drawings, hauts-reliefs and of course her signature material cardboard in chefs-d’oeuvre. Tapestry was initially Eva’s interest, inspired by Giulio Romana who is known for his baroque, mannerists paintings and tapestry designs of the high Renaissance. She realized the lack of freedom in the creation process where the design will be the final product and variations on the way are hard to interpret. As a result, she started embroidery, which she first showcased during Dior’s 2021 Haute Couture collection. On her residence journey at the Villa Medici, she discovered an Indian-style of embroidery, which she included in the PROMENADE(S), taking inspiration from the embroidered works in the Palazzo and the hunting scenes on paintings in the Louvre that are mostly translated in forest environments, something that embodies the natural work of Eva.
The Carmontelle performs at the starting point of the artist’s work for the Maison, where the story of Eva’s interpretation can be seen on a paper roll stretched between two cylinders. A way to showcase the vast landscape journey through the vineyard she took with her visionary perspective, the forest around the area, and the chalk quarries on this historical terroir of Reims.
Carmontelle is the centre of the collection of art works, according to Eva. “It starts with a the drawing of the first line, where you go into different directions of the exhibition where a lot of things come to life, it’s about the metaphor, just like the grapes,” she states. “You start with growing the fruit and after that, you take a variety of steps until you have the final product. It is all part of making wine into an art form.” Alongside the Carmontelle, the exhibition showcases a series of relief drawings on mounted canvas, giving a multidimensional effect to paper, which translated to hills of Reims and dives into her identical approach of layers within her works that align with the life-process of the grapes.
The hauts-reliefs started from the inspiring vineyard where the Maison is taking big steps to support the biodiversity, a need for the production due to global warming and the protection of the historical natural area. This is where the idea of connection started; taking the artist back to her childhood where she first learned about Reims and history of the Kingdom of France. It is where she found the interconnection between the past and present and the layers between those periods, ”almost like an invisible connection between the different terroirs: from the roots of the grapes, to under the crayères, up to the light from the sun towards the top of the Reims Cathedral. All is connected to different energies that shape the grape to its final product.”
With Eva’s approach to layers, the chefs-d-oeuvre invites the viewer to a miniature landscape of imagination, referring to the classical part of architecture combined with influences from the cellars where the bottles of Ruinart age. Throughout the different angles of the cardboard statues, we see her vision on building these miniature fantasy worlds. These little worlds come to life through the vibration in the cardboard material and the shadows it creates. It is the material that became something obsessive according to Eva, a repetition in the gesture.
Similar to making the wine, the grape itself can be a simple ingredient that you can repeat to grow and can always form into a different substance or product. The chefs-d-oeuvre takes you to multiple facades of Eva, Ruinart and everything around it. “Moving from one space to another is kind of like a mental journey, made up in your head. I love to change the scale of what you see, either you are really small or you are a giant compared to the artwork.”
“My work and winemaking have a lot in common,” she explains. “When you work with your hands, you are your own tool. When you’re devoted to a task, you forget about everything. Manual work is something beautiful, the repetition of doing things over and over, if you can take a bit of appreciation of the repetition.” Undoubtedly, the connection between Maison Ruinart and Eva Jospin tackles mutual understanding on nature, craftsmanship and details. Both skill and mastery are underscored in their dictionary, creating a new landscape with given elements for the future.
The artistic creations of the Carte Blanche will be showcased at more than 30 art fairs worldwide, giving visitors the chance to discover the fine connection between champagne and art. Take the chance to discover these wonderful landscapes during Gallery Weekend Berlin at Ruinart Maison 1729 – From Reims to Berlin – from April 27 to May 2 at the Amtssalon, Kantstrasse 79.
photography. Mathieu Bonnevie, Laure Vasconi, Benoit Fougeirol + Joseph Jabbour
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