Berlin-based artist Jeppe Hein has partnered with Champagne house Ruinart to create an immersive installation at the New York Frieze art fair. Titled Right Here, Right Now the work will be showcased at the Ruinart Lounge from 18-22 May.
Taking inspiration from his visits to Ruinart’s historic Champagne house over the past two years, Jeppe Hein’s work invites visitors to connect with the present moment and awaken their senses.
“The real discovery for me was going into the vineyards very early in the morning, in the mist at the beginning of harvest,” he says. “Everyone was very excited; I could feel the tension at this special time of year. The cellar master and his team were checking if the grapes were sweet enough.”
Hein also explored the crayères (the former chalk quarries Ruinart uses to store its wines). “When you go down the stairs, the first thing you feel is the change of temperature and humidity on your skin,” he recalls. “A very pleasant smell emanates from the wet chalk, nothing like the mustiness of a cellar.”
On his return home, the artist set about creating a participatory installation that draws on the four elements (earth, fire, air, water) which are essential to champagne making.
“Nature is of paramount importance in our lives, even if we are sometimes distant from it,” explains Hein. “To find and experience it, we can use ‘tools’ that awaken our senses. Seeing a gentle breeze that plays with the vine leaves, listening to the soft rustling of the wind, smelling the flowers, touching the dew on the leaves or tasting the grapes.”
“The installation aims to bring out emotions,” he continues. “The idea is to offer visitors simple experiences that trigger something intimate. Each visitor is given a piece of chalk to touch and draw with, a raisin to taste, a scent to smell. Everyone will react differently, but I hope it will create a memorable moment for each of them.”
Ruinart’s Cellar Master, Frédéric Panaïotis adds: “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.”
Hein’s passion for nature can be traced back to his childhood, growing up on an organic farm in Denmark. Today, the artist lives near Grunewald, a forest in the south of Berlin where he also has a studio.
As part of his partnership with the Champagne house, Hein has designed a limited-edition unique wooden box containing a Jeroboam of Ruinart Rosé, which can be purchased at the art fair for $3,690. Whitened with chalk taken directly from the walls of Ruinart’s chalk pits in Reims, the box is topped with a rose-colored mirror sculpture that echoes Hein’s sensory installation.
Ruinart’s partnership with Jeppe Hein at Frieze New York is just the latest project within its Carte Blanche program, which invites artists to create works that capture the Maison’s rich legacy. The Champagne house has also undertaken efforts to support emerging talent within the art world including the Prix Maison Ruinart – an annual competition that invites young photographers to take part in an artistic residency in the Champagne region.
On the weekend of 21-22 May, Ruinart will also open an exclusive art and champagne lounge – Maison 1729 – situated at Studio 525 in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Available for Frieze New York VIP members on a strictly first come first serve basis, visitors will be treated to complimentary glasses of bubbly and delicious pairings from Michelin-starred Cote throughout the weekend while they explore the gallery, which features works from previous Carte Blanche partners.