Every year, the renowned champagne house Ruinart invites an artist to create their vision of the Maison. This year, Jeppe Hein was given Carte Blanche and, to kick off the multi-part presentation, transformed the Palais de Tokyo in Paris into the interactive artwork “Right Here, Right Now” that draws the audience in.
It could have been the chalk, the terroir, the wind, the sun or the earth. With all five senses, Jeppe Hein experienced the visit to Champagne, more precisely to Reims, where Ruinart is produced. But the cooperation also fits so well precisely because the artist shares a love of gastronomy, food and drink with the traditional house. The activation of his senses Jeppe Hein had learned through the collaboration, and how to really drink champagne – and enjoy. It is always noticeable that both parties share a love of craftsmanship, whether that is in making champagne or art. Starting with the model, the idea for a final product, and ending with the implementation, there is always great emphasis on the process. In Paris, he says he even took his family to Ruinart so his children could learn how to produce something.
And visitors should now also be able to experience the exhibition with all five senses, which plays with the elements earth/soil, water/rain, air/wind and fire/sun. At various stations, visitors are invited in an active and participatory way to connect with themselves and their surroundings, to listen to themselves and to get a little closer to themselves.
Jeppe Hein manages to awaken the senses through objects as small as a piece of chalk, which can be used to reflect one’s own emotions based on the colors of the chakras, or the smell of a Chardonnay blossom. True to the motto “Right Here, Right Now,” the moment, and in particular the mindfulness of being in the moment, is declared the highest good. If you then go further in the exhibition, once around the mirror from which you got the drop of oil as well as the chalk, a raisin awaits you to enjoy. And if you think you know what enjoyment means, you have not yet reckoned with Jeppe Hein. Has one ever really tasted a raisin? Do you know the structure? How does it feel to let a raisin melt in your mouth?
As part of Carte Blanche, the Champagne House has initiated the “Food For Art” program, which combines art and gastronomy, and declares gastronomy to be art. Here, too, Jeppe Hein has exceeded the benchmark, collaborating with a top international chef for each stop the exhibition makes. If during the Venice Biennale it was Eugenio Boer, who specializes in plant-based cooking, during Gallery Weekend it is Berlin-based Michelin-starred chef Björn Swanson, who places great emphasis on terroir. Other stops in the interactive installation include Art Basel, where Tarik Lange will use regional and seasonal products, FIAC in Paris, where Clément Bouvier will present sustainable gastronomy, and Art Week in Tokyo, where Sugio Yamaguchi emphasizes simple dishes. Accompanied by the various drops of Ruinart, unique fusions become a taste experience, the four elements and five senses that each chef interprets individually.
“I was trying to open up hearts, to generate more empathy in the world,” Jeppe Hein says. To change the perspective and the environment is the intention behind the exhibition. And, as one could hardly have expected otherwise, Jeppe Hein has managed to make you leave your comfort zone and embark on a journey to yourself, while activating all your senses that so often get forgotten in the hectic everyday life. What sticks is that Hein’s works are a testimony of time, just as champagne is. Both Ruinart and Jeppe Hein are steeped in time, attempting to capture time. “Time is to be in the moment, to be right here now” says the artist. And taking the time to savor the moment of the exhibition is a real pleasure – and a true luxury.
As part of Gallery Weekend, the exhibition can be visited at Studio Jeppe Hein. There will also be an artful dinner experience at the pop-up restaurant “RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW” by Jeppe Hein, Björn Swanson & Maison Ruinart.
Date: April 29 & 30, 2022, 7:00 p.m. Address: Dessauer Str. 6, 10963 Berlin, Germany. Booking here.
Words by Antonia Schmidt