Food For Art, a program initiated by RUINART, is true to its name, dedicated to a very distinct cause: The fusion of art with gastronomy. A creative dialog in which international top chefs translate the artistic interpretations of the champagne house and its selected artists into culinary experiences. This year launched the collaboration with Berlin-based artist Jeppe Hein. During Gallery Weekend Berlin, Danish-born Hein collaborated with Michelin-starred chef Björn Swanson to create a very special interactive food experience together with Ruinart.
But let’s take a step back: How did this collaboration come about? Almost two years ago, Jeppe Hein visited the Champagne region and the historic home of Ruinart for the first time. Inspired by the view of the vineyards in the early morning mist, the crayères and—especially—the wet chalk on his hands, inspired Hein to create his works. “This is something I want to explore, but also something I want to share with others“, explains Hein in an interview.
There he had the idea that people should have the same experience as him: To take the chalk in their hands. For the Carte Blanche, Hein has created a participatory installation that addresses the four elements (earth, fire, air, and water—which are the base for the production of champagne) and the five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch).
“Through his work as an artist, Jeppe Hein takes a fresh look at the world. Each piece is a playground, each moment becomes an experience that connects us to nature, others and the world. I was blown away by his skill as an ‘orchestra conductor’: he plays with the four elements and makes the five senses vibrate with a generosity that draws our attention to the fragile beauty of life.”
— Frédéric Panaïotis,
Cellar Master, Maison Ruinart
At the center of the installation is a large mirror that invites the viewer to reach through a round hole into the mirror’s interior. There, the visitors are given a piece of chalk with which they can become creative themselves—on canvases created by Jeppe Hein. With his installation, which visitors can experience at various art fairs, Jeppe Hein wants to make sensations tangible. Feelings that detach you for a brief moment from the fast-paced habits of life. For example, how a gentle breeze plays with the vine leaves, touching the dew on the leaves or tasting the grapes. An installation that aims to arouse emotions. The idea is to offer visitors simple experiences that trigger something intimate. On this journey of encountering ourselves, the world, and others, Hein guides us with messages written on reflective speech bubbles. Sentences that reflect our own questions and encourage us to express them. “The answer is within you”; “What if this does not exist?” and “Right here, right now” are just a few examples of these speech bubbles.
“Right here, right now” is also the name of the pop-up restaurant that Jeppe Hein has created together with Berlin based Michelin-starred Björn Swanson and Ruinart for Gallery Weekend Berlin. In four courses paired with Ruinart champagne the guests experienced an interactive Food For Art dinner, an experience which will also be made available at other international art fairs. Each time with a different renowned chef, who interprets the theme in his own way.
The Food For Art concept with Jeppe Hein and Ruinart can be experienced during Basel’s Art Basel in June, where chef Tarik Lange will dedicate himself to a menu with regional and seasonal products. Followed by Clément Bouvier at FIAC in October and Sugio Yamaguchi at Art Week Tokyo in November. The ever-changing installation by Hein, whose colors evolve over the year, can be seen at the major contemporary art fairs. Next, the installation will be on view at Frieze in New York in May, followed by Art Basel in Basel, Frieze London in October and FIAC in Paris. At the end of the year, Jeppe Hein’s work can be experienced at Art Week in Tokyo and Art Basel Miami.
“I could imagine the sun touching my face, while I am standing in the middle of the vineyard, smelling the moisture of the earth, listening to rainwater dripping onto the vine leaves and tasting the grapes.”
— Jeppe Hein