Ruinart has always been a favourite with the art scene. The accidental pun in the name is only one reason. The world’s oldest champagne house, it has collaborated with numerous artists in the past, including well-known names like Vik Muniz, Liu Bolin and Jaume Plensa. This year it has joined up with British artist David Shrigley.
The Brighton-based creative is best known for his darkly humorous hand-scrawled drawings and animations, and has held shows at the Malmö Konsthall, Museum Ludwig and Dundee Contemporary. He has collaborated on music videos for Blur and Bonnie Prince Billy, and has an OBE. Ruinart was drawn to his sense of provocation and the absurd and, following a residency at its vineyards and cellars, the results, like all of Shrigley’s works, are equally playful and eye-opening.
The artist’s process often starts with a list of things to draw. As he explains: “Once those things have been drawn, the story has begun: modern words sometimes appear, sometimes the words appear as a list, sometimes it’s pictures, until eventually the page is full and the artwork is finished.” The list Shrigley conceived for Ruinart began thus: the vines, the grapes, the soil, a bottle, a glass, the cellar master, worms, the weather. This led to a series of 36 drawings that formed a narrative on the creation and pleasure of champagne itself, as well as a connection to its respect for nature.
Some pieces are humorous, such as Keep Your Filthy Hands Off Our Grapes, with its pink hand heading to a cluster of juicy purple grapes. Others speak directly about the importance of nature: The Soil Is Oh So Very Important. Art connoisseurs can also buy a limited-edition box designed by Shrigley (available from 1 July via clos19.com, priced at £2,850). Only 30 were created, each featuring a chequerboard that references one of the artist’s drawings for Ruinart. These containers, like the whole project, highlight the mysterious process in nature that results in one of the world’s most celebrated beverages.