Bordeaux first growth Château Mouton Rothschild has unveiled its 2018 label designed by the famed Chinese artist Xu Bing, making him the third Chinese artist to grace the storied winery’s label.
This is the third collaboration between the renowned Bordeaux first growth and a Chinese artist, following the winery’s previous works with Chinese calligrapher Gu Gan (1996 vintage) and later with Chinese painter Xu Lei (2008 vintage).
The owners of Château Mouton Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, commissioned the label for the 2018 vintage from the Chinese artist and writer Xu Bing (b. 1955), a tradition that the estate has started in 1945.
The artwork for the 2018 label reflects the artist’s work on the illusory splendor of appearances as manifested by his Square Word Calligraphy, which resembles traditional Chinese characters but is actually composed of the letters of the Latin alphabet.
Xu Bing expresses his linguistic creativity in the invention of a unique script in which the words are absorbed into the codes of traditional Chinese ideography. In this coalescence of cultures, the label for the 2018 vintage features the two words “Mouton Rothschild”.
The characters in the artwork are designed by Xu Bing to reveal themselves to the attentive reader one after the other, in the same way that the aromas and flavours of a very fine wine, with patience, are also gradually discovered.
The 2018 vintage, of exceptional quality, is already set to be one of Château Mouton Rothschild’sfinest successes, according to the winery. The wine reveals an intense color, an excellent tannic structure, remarkable heft and a creamy texture, as well as a rare concentration of aromas and flavors.
“When I discovered Xu Bing, I was captivated by him as an inventor of signs endowed with incredible poetic power. And then I said to myself that our labels were also signs, each work of art referring to a year: the 1973 vintage can also be called the ‘Picasso Mouton’, just as the 2018 vintage will be called the ‘Xu Bing Mouton’,” said Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild.
Considered to be one of the most important contemporary Chinese artists, Xu majored in print-making at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and started practicing calligraphy from an early age.
His works have been exhibited at the British Museum, London, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, amongst other renowned institutions. Some of his most celebrated works include monumental sculptures and installations such as Book from the Sky, Phoenix and Background Stories.
“I have long been aware of the close connection between Château Mouton Rothschild and art. In 2013, I had the good fortune to be invited to Mouton Rothschild by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. I was impressed by her energy, her warm personality and her knowledge of the arts. She said that one day I should create a label for Mouton Rothschild. So when Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild contacted me to illustrate the label for the vintage 2018, I took it as both an honour and an opportunity to pay tribute,” said Xu.
You can also watch the video below to see how it’s created.