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Château Mouton Rothschild unveils artwork for the 2021 label

Château Mouton Rothschild has unveiled the original artwork for its 2021 vintage, which has been designed by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. 

Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, Chiharu Shiota, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Philippe Sereys de Rothschild with the Château Mouton Rothschild 2021 label. Pic credit: ©M.Anglada

Shiota, who was born in Osaka in 1972 but is currently based in Berlin, took inspiration from the natural harmony she found in the vineyard, explaining that when she visited Château Mouton Rothschild, she was inspired by their relationship with nature. “They depend on the weather and do not interfere with mother nature. They accept the conditions in which the grapes grow,” she said.

The resulting work juxtaposes and connects the fragile silhouette of a human figure and the abundance of nature itself, with the delicacy of balance and fragility of the links between nature and humans would seem to be its leitmotifs, according to Mouton’s press release.

“It is as though the figure is holding onto the balance between nature and humans. Its grip cannot be too tight or the thread will break, nor too loose or else the cloud will blow away and the connection will be broken,” it said.

Shiota explained that the four lines connecting the human to the environment represented the four seasons and all the emotions linked to them – solitude, hope, achievement.

“It is like preserving the memory of the year in the wine. I find this very fascinating because I also believe that the objects that surround us accumulate our memories and existence,” she said.

As an artist, Shiota’s inspiration often emerges from a personal experience or emotion which she expands into universal human concerns such as life, death and relationships. She has redefined the concept of memory and consciousness by collecting ordinary objects such as shoes, keys, beds, chairs and dresses, and engulfing them in immense thread structures. She explores this sensation of a ‘presence in the absence’ with her installations, but also presents intangible emotions in her sculptures, drawings, performance videos, photographs and canvases.

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In 2008, she was awarded the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists. Her work has been displayed at international institutions worldwide, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2023); Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (QAGoMA), Brisbane (2022); ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe (2021); Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington (2020); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2019); Gropius Bau, Berlin (2019); Art Gallery of South Australia (2018); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2018); Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2017); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2015); National Museum of Asian Art – Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (2014); the Museum of Art, Kochi (2013); and the National Museum of Art, Osaka (2008) among others. She has also participated in numerous international exhibitions such as the Oku-Noto International Art Festival (2017); Sydney Biennale (2016); Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (2009) and Yokohama Triennale (2001). In 2015, Shiota was selected to represent Japan at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Since 1945, the labels for each vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild have been illustrated by an original artwork, adding year after year to the unique collection of contemporary art which brings together very different artists from many different backgrounds. The estate has worked with some of the world’s most famous names, including Salvador Dalí, César, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Pierre Soulages, Francis Bacon, Balthus, Jeff Koons, David Hockney, Annette Messager, Olafur Eliasson and Peter Doig, with their original artworks displayed at Château Mouton Rothschild itself, in the Paintings for the Labels room.

Tasting note

I have yet to re-taste Mouton Rothschild 2021 from bottle, but it was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the en primeur tastings, brimming with energy, vivacity and freshness.

Mouton Rothschild 2021 (Pauillac; 89% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10% Merlot; 1% Cabernet Franc; tasted in the new chai at Chateau d’Armailhac; tasted en primeur). Gorgeous pure rich deep dark and expressive cassis fruit, with an enticing suggestion of graphite and cedar in the background – a support group to the star that is the Cabernet Sauvignon here. In the mouth, this is super-svelte but massively bright on the attack, with an energy and vivacity that one does not at first expect. Indeed, it is as if the fresh fruit almost seems to break through the confines of the soft structure. In the process it brings amazing interest, detail, definition and multi-coloured pixilation to the mid-palate. It is like a firework display. Eventually, the fruit is reined in and just about held in check by the tannins that build along the spine. But then, just as one imagines that the show is over, the fruit escapes again, this time, fresher still and more juicy and sapid in a brilliant fantail crescendo on the finish. I love the energy of this. it is very different from Lafite or Latour and probably not what you’re expecting. 95-97.



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