This morning, Château Mouton Rothschild revealed its latest artistic collaboration with Xu Bing. We take a closer look at the Chinese artist’s label design for the 2018 vintage
Since 1945, Château Mouton Rothschild has invited an artist to design a label for its latest vintage. The collection of miniature artworks, which are transferred onto the wine bottles and also exhibited in a special gallery in the château, features some of the most famous artists from the past 100 years including the likes of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter and now, Xu Bing.
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One of China’s most renowned artists, Xu Bing is best known for his installations which often explore the relationship between image and language. His artwork for the 2018 vintage label is a continuation of his ‘square word calligraphy’ series which originally involved the artist organising English letters into structures that resembled Chinese characters. The idea was to break down cultural barriers by demonstrating the similarity of components in both languages and therefore, demystify the Chinese written language for non-Chinese speakers.
For this artwork, the pair of elegant, stacked symbols once again appear to be an example of traditional Chinese calligraphy, but the characters are, in fact, composed of the Latin alphabet and denote “Mouton Rothschild”.
The design’s inspiration comes from the layered experience of tasting wine, each character reveals itself as the reader engages more deeply with the image, but also with the idea of history, symbolism and reinvention. By reimagining the literary shape of the iconic winery, Bing symbolically suggests the possibility of new discovery in the old.
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