“Shared roots”: Ruinart’s 2019 artistic collaboration with Vik Muniz

The French Champagne House RUINART is famous for their yearly partnership with world class artists and their many patronages of art fairs and gallery events. It stands for the stimulation of our senses.
We just returned from Reims and Paris where we celebrated the artistic cooperation between the world oldest Champagne house and Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.

A part of Vik Muniz visual art is to observe, to learn. The fields outside the Maison in Reims combines all he is looking for to stimulate his senses and his creative mind. The smell of the mineral soil, sunlight and texture of the vine. Picture courtesy © Ruinart

“Shared roots” is the moto of this year’s collaboration and the creative minds behind it are Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, Chef de Caves of RUINART Frédéric Panaiotis and for a special dinner at Reims the Michelin chef David Toutain. For his work Muniz used natural elements such as black wood and charcoal, or grapevine leaves and other plants from the Ruinart vineyard.
The same inspiration was key to the creation of a special dinner at Reims by Michelin chef David Toutain.

We came together for an Art Talk about their experiences and here are some good thoughts:

Creating art in the cellars of la Maison where Vik Muniz brought together leaves from the vineyard and created an oversized structured vine leaf. A dinner table in the Maison for the fine dining experience with Chef David Toutain who created a special dinner, celebrating this year’s artistic collaboration.

Vik Muniz
“A lot of what I do as an artist has more to do with ignorance than knowledge. I am very very drawn to things that I don’t know. I am not a studio kind of artist. If I stay in the studio, I become very unproductive. Normally, I always need to learn new things.
Also, the idea of meeting new people, people working and specializing in other areas is very important to me.”

“Art is the evolution of the interface between mind and matter, between consciousness and the surrounding environment.”

Frédéric Panaïotis
“Our real job is not to make wine, it is not to create food, and it is not to create art – it is to give people pleasure, to make people happy.”

Vik Muniz and Frédéric Panaïotis in the artist studio in Rio.

Vik Muniz
“Whenever a life form is suspicious, and feels endangered, it starts to produce more flowers and better fruits. I have children and am very careful not to give them too much. I am always making the mistake though. Sometimes, scarcity is what makes you do things.”

David Toutain
“We speak before about the colour and one thing that was very important was the roots: where everything is from, all the flavour is from the dirt and the sun, and they grow together. So the roots for me were the main ingredients in creating dishes. Roots are beautiful because they are different every season: winter, summer, spring – every seasons has some roots.”

Vik Muniz
“I hate to have good ideas, because they normally lead into bad works. You get excited, you work directly and you come up with something that looks like a good idea, but it is not necessarily good art.”

Frédéric Panaïotis and Vik Muniz celebrated the beginning of an early morning with a just perfectly chilled Blanc des Blancs watching the sunrise. Picture courtesy © Ruinart
Vik Muniz at work. Picture courtesy © Ruinart

Vik Muniz
“If nobody has a question, I will answer a question that nobody asked. It’s something that not only brings us three together here, but most of us together: as someone deeply invested in understanding what is the relationship between my mind and my surrounding environment, whether natural, social or otherwise, I think that what we are trying to do – artists, scientists, chefs, journalists – we are trying to make sense between reality and mind.

We are living in a crisis of reality. I feel it. There is a deficit of reality that is quite alarming. While we cannot control or remedy this completely, my solution is always to be very experimental about it.

And I think working and getting out of the niche of contemporary art has always been very rewarding to me. I worked with people in a garbage dump, making art, I am working now with refugees in Bangladesh, and now I am working with very sophisticated people in Champagne. The idea of being open is very important, and I love to be part of projects like this, when you have a chance to do this.”

Learning from nature
Vik Muniz and Michelin chef David Toutain
A vine stem is like a piece of art, formed by humidity, soil and the weather conditions which also inspired Chef David Toutain for his venue, where he integrated roots, herbs and organic plants

This editorial was made possible by invitation from RUINART Champagne, MoetHennessy Deutschland