Belgian artist chosen for Ornellaia’s 2018 art series release

Belgian artist Jan Fabre was chosen by Super Tuscan estate Ornellaia to create a series of bespoke bottle designs for the 2018 vintage release of its Vendemmia d’Artista series.

Belgian artist Jan Fabre has created a series of bespoke bottles for Super Tuscan estate Ornellaia

The announcement was made this week from the Bolgheri winery’s atrium to a worldwide Zoom audience, with Fabre in virtual attendance from his studio in Belgium.

Tuning in from New York was the director of the Guggenheim Museum, Richard Armstrong, whose Mind’s Eye project will profit from a Sotheby’s online auction in September.

The theme for 2018 was ‘grace’

“The 2018 vintage resulted in wines of particular harmony,” said Axel Heinz, Ornellaia’s estate director. “Synergy and interaction among the varied terroirs of the estate created proportion and complexity. The outcome is a rounded and silky wine” that is “an expression of grace and beauty” – hence the vintage theme of ‘La Grazia’.

“It was not a vintage without challenges,” Heinz admitted, noting there was more rain than usual, “but a good summer and perfect conditions during harvest.”

Unlike the famous annual artist label collection of Château Mouton Rothschild, which involves a solitary creation, Fabre’s commission had him creating variations on a theme for different bottle formats.

Three different coral sculptures – ‘A Candle of Mercy’, ‘The Crown of Kindness’ and ‘The Heart of Virtue’ top the three Vendemmia d’Artista Salmanazars containing nine litres of wine.

Variations of the sculptures are graphically recreated on 111 other 2018 vintage large formats, as well as on the standard 75cl bottle label. Fabre will also contribute a set of related drawings for the Ornellaia dining room.

“I believe that art should conciliate ethical values and esthetic principals,” the artist explained. “For this reason, I decided to use forms such as the heart, the crown, candle and wings in the sculptures,” noting that they “are symbols of passion, virtue and purity.”

Sotheby’s worldwide wine head, Jamie Ritchie, said the auction house’s participation “is so special to us because it supports worthy artistic causes and combines the brilliance of the estate’s wines with the visual ingenuity of the artists who take part.

“With its emphasis on the senses, the Mind’s Eye project has been an ideal beneficiary these past three years.”

The Guggenheim’s Armstrong explained that, “Ornellaia has helped us to remain connected to our visitors through increased access programming and the creation of a new digital sensory guide that shares the experience of being at the museum with an ever-widening global audience.”

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