Hong Kong was the host for the annual benefit auction of Ornellaias Vendemmia DArtista art project, with labels designed by celebrated Chinese artist, Zhang Huan. Wine and art collectors vied in keen competition for these unprecedented lots, under the gavel of Robert Sleigh, Wine Department Director of Sothebys Asia. The record bids totaled $191,476 (USD), most notably, the lot of 10 Imperials purchased for $79,506 (USD), all of which will be donated to the H2 Foundation for Arts and Education.
The interpreter of the theme LEquilibrio for Ornellaia 2009 Vendemmia dArtista
, Zhang Huan, drew inspiration for his project, which he named Questioning Confucius. A steel sculpture bearing the features of the great Chinese philospher, echoed in a series of special labels also created by Huan, has been installed in the interior courtyard of the winery.
"Confucius thinks people should find their own position and move forward instead of disturbing the natural order of things and going overboard, explained artist Zhang Huan. The theory of harmony between man and nature tells us to respect nature in order to establish a world of equilibrium where we can live together peacefully and happily. With so many problems in our time, we need to question Confucius. Do we feel happy because of the modern society in which we are living? Where do our spirits belong? Do we ask so much from the earth that our general following will have to pay a huge price for it? I always wonder if Master Confucius were alive now, what questions would we have for him and what wonderful insight would he provide?
The artist designed a limited edition of labels for the large-size bottles, all in intimate congruence with the installation. 100 3-liter Double Magnums are adorned with labels bearing the face of Confucius, along with an apothegm related to the striving for the wisdom that comes with age; 10 6-liter Imperials constitute a separate series unto themselves, with the figure of Confucius gradually growing in stature; and finally, a single 9-liter Salmanazar bears a finely-crafted oval sculpture in steel, engraved with the sages features.
One of the hallmarks of wine, like people, is its originality, and each vintage year exhibits a personality that renders a wine utterly unique. Within the overall Ornellaia style, we expend much effort in identifying and highlighting the distinctive qualities of each vintage, said Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Director of Production of Tenuta dellOrnellaia. Ornellaia 2009 expresses a remarkable sense of balance between opposing forces: luscious ripeness of the fruit combined with caressing structure, vivid freshness, power, elegance and complexity.
The curators of Vendemmia dArtista are Maria Alicata and Bartolomeo Pietromarchi. Additional bottle and auction images are available upon request. .