Danish Artist Jeppe Hein’s Multi-Sensory Ruinart Commission Is All About Being ‘Right Here, Right Now’—and It’s About to Be Everywhere
The Champagne house gave Hein carte blanche for its annual art commission.
Since 2018, Ruinart—the world’s oldest champagne house, making bubbly for nearly three centuries—has been hosting a residency at its vineyards in Reims, France, giving the likes of Vik Muniz and David Shrigley carte blanche. Now, it has revealed the fruits of its fifth collaboration: a multi-sensory work from Danish artist Jeppe Hein, inspired by the maison’s chalky, sun-dappled terroir.
Known for creating participatory installations that playfully provoke shared experiences (think sculptures incorporating mirror mazes and balloons, or the unexpected contortions of his Modified Social Benches), Hein was a natural choice. The artist, who grew up on a biodynamic farm in Denmark and now lives in a forest outside of Berlin, constantly seeks inspiration in the natural world.
“Nature is of paramount importance in our lives, even if we are sometimes distant from it,” he said in a statement. “To find and experience it, we can use ‘tools’ that awaken our senses.”
Hence he created RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, which just made is debut at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The Ruinart commission is set to travel the world in the coming months, from the Venice Biennale to Frieze (both New York and London), and from Art Week Tokyo to Art Basel (both Basel and Miami Beach).
At each stop, Hein’s voice will guide art-goers through a meditative, interactive experience that involves handling elements from the Ruinart vineyards—a piece of wet chalk; a sun-ripened grape; the fragrance of a particularly floral Chardonnay. Mirrored reliefs in the shape of speech bubbles offer messages like “Be Aware of Your Small Sensations.” It’s all designed to fill the five senses with a feeling of calm.
“I want to give people an experience that they are not used to at an art fair. Because normally, you look, buy and sell,” the artist explained. “With our hectic lifestyles, we sometimes forget to enjoy the moment.”
Nodding to Hein’s 2019 public artwork Breathe with Me, which invited people to exhale while painting parallel vertical blue lines on panels at the United Nations Headquarters and Central Park in New York—a project informed by Hein’s personal wellness ritual, super-scaled to illustrate that “we’re all breathing the same air,” as he said at the time—RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW invites visitors to draw their self-portraits in chalk on colorful panels, which will become filled with hand-drawn faces over time.
As a further extension of the project, Hein has collaborated with five international chefs—Eugenio Boer in Venice, Björn Swanson in Berlin, Tarik Lange in Basel, Clément Bouvier in Paris, and Sugio Yamaguchi in Tokyo—on a roving series of Food for Art dinners paired with Ruinart cuvées, both at the fairs hosting the installation and in the chefs’ restaurants.
And for those who wish to experience RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW for more than a moment, Hein has also designed a collector’s Ruinart Rosé Jeroboam bottle, limited to an edition of 25 (each numbered, signed, and available at Ruinart’s partner art fairs for 3,500 euros). The artist has whitened its wooden box with chalk from Ruinart’s quarries in Reims. In lieu of the typical label, you’ll find rosé-colored mirrors that look like bubbles.
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