Jan Fabre for Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista
“The 2018 vintage resulted in wines of particular harmony,” comments Axel Heinz, Estate Director of the Bolgheri winery. “Synergy and interaction among the varied terroirs on the estate created proportion and complexity. The outcome is a rounded and silky wine in which all the elements blend together in an expression of grace and beauty.” In tribute to this sense of proportion and symmetry, Axel Heinz has called the character of Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia”.
Belgian artist Jan Fabre was called upon to interpret this trait in his role as an eclectic and innovative figure on the international art scene. Continually seeking convergences across a range of disciplines, Fabre offers an original and personal interpretation of visual art, taking cues from theatre, literature and the world of symbolism.
Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” is the expression of a perfectly balanced vintage. After unusually hot, dry seasons, the earth finally received the rainfall and winter cold needed to rest and reset the vine’s lifecycle. The spring enjoyed occasional showers, which renewed the protective layer of the vineyard, while the summer proved dry, encouraging fruit set and culminating in veraison on clear, sunny days in late July. Healthy grapes benefitting from a superb balance of acidity and sugars were harvested between 31 August and 8 October.
Taking inspiration from Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” as a “divine gift of nature and a balance of symmetry and proportion,” Jan Fabre used his trademark style and coral, the precious golden red of the Gulf of Naples, for the sculptures that top three Salmanazars (9 litres): A Candle of Mercy, The Crown of Kindness, and The Heart of Virtue. “I believe that art should conciliate ethical values and aesthetic principles,” explains the Belgian artist. “For this reason, I decided to use forms such as the heart, crown, candle and wings in the sculptures for Ornellaia 2018. These are symbols of passion, virtue and purity, which come alive by means of twigs and red coral pearls; in “A Candle of Mercy” or “The Heart of Virtue” they liquefy, like the melting grace of Ornellaia wine.”
In addition to the coral artworks for the 111 precious large formats of Ornellaia, Jan Fabre has also designed a special label for the 750ml bottles and a site-specific installation for the winery’s dining room Orciaia: a set of drawings inspired by the sculptures and their symbolism.
Accompanied by the other large formats, only one of the three Salmanazars of Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia”, which was named by the artist “The Crown of Kindness”, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in September 2021. Collectors around the world will be able to place bids online on the lots and have their purchases delivered directly from the evocative Bolgheri winery.
For the third consecutive year, profits will be given to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” project.
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine says: “This is our 13th partnership with Ornellaia for their annual Vendemmia d’Artista project, which is so special to us because it supports worthy artistic causes and combines the brilliance of the estate’s wines with the visual ingenuity of the artists who take part. With its emphasis on the senses, the Mind’s Eye project has been the ideal beneficiary these past three years. We look forward to offering a range of bottles from the 2018 vintage “La Grazia”, illustrated by Jan Fabre, in our online sale later this year, headlined, as ever, by a unique Salmanazar. As in previous years, we expect the lots to attract an international group of bidders who wish to purchase these exclusive bottles and enjoy unique experiences.”
The profits made by Vendemmia d’Artista allow the Mind’s Eye program to be extended both on site at the Guggenheim as well as online and ensure that its excellence continues to guide museum programming in different parts of the world.
“With the continued support of Ornellaia, the Guggenheim has been able to amplify the reach and resonance of our Mind’s Eye program,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “Ornellaia has helped us remain connected to our visitors through increased access programming and the creation of a new digital sensory guide that shares the experience of being at the museum with an ever-widening global audience. We speak for the many beneficiaries of Ornellaia’s generosity in expressing real gratitude.”
Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of the Bolgheri winery says: “Since the introduction of Vendemmia d’Artista project in 2009, we have donated more than 2 million euros. It is deeply rewarding to see the program develop and know that the work we are doing gives the blind and persons with low vision an opportunity to discover contemporary art through the use of the senses. At the same time, the Mind’s Eye program will soon offer the possibility to extend the same model not only to other museums belonging to the Guggenheim Foundation, but also to art institutions in the rest of the world, thereby making art accessible to even more people.”