Bordeaux first growth Château Mouton Rothschild has unveiled its much anticipated 2019 label, featuring a design by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson that charts the movement of sun in relation to the storied estate.
A tradition dating back to 1945 to bring together some of the most celebrated artists for its grand vin label design, the Bordeaux first growth tapped Icelandic artist Eliasson for its latest wine release from 2019 vintage.
Named “Solar Iris of Mouton”, the design is divided into two horizontal strips: the upper part represents daytime with its golden hues, the lower part the night in midnight blue. They frame the oculus which represents Château Mouton Rothschild. Around it, a series of ellipses form a ring that charts the path of the sun in relation to the earth at the Château’s location in Pauillac. The lowest arc designates the shortest day of the year, the top arc the longest.
In the upper part, elongated figure 8 shapes known as analemmas represent the position of the sun recorded from Château Mouton Rothschild at the same time on each day of the year. The variations in the sun’s position in the sky arise from the movements of the earth around the sun and along its axis. The motion of the earth and the passing of time thus become visible in the shape of the analemma. The figure 8 shape also evokes the symbol of infinity – a promise of eternity for Mouton Rothschild 2019?
Olafur Eliasson says: “Solar Iris of Mouton is a map of all the sunsets and sunrises that take place over a year at Château Mouton Rothschild. Depicting each hour of daylight and night-time that go into the growing of the grapes, it is a kind of signature for the vineyard, telling us something about the conditions in which the wine grew and the intimate relationship between the wine and its location. Tasting the wine connects us to the local environment, to the soil, and to the particular weather, seasons, and lighting of the place. Visible through the eye-like oculus at the centre of the label, the wine contains the golden sun, the earth, and the sky; it is local and it simultaneously bears a trace of the celestial.” Olafur
Eliasson sees the wine as a testimony, a fingerprint, of the soil in which the grapes grew and ripened, the year in which it was made, the influence of the sun that year and its cyclical relationship to its environment.
Born in 1967, Olafur Eliasson studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He is now based in Berlin, where his studio is home to a multi-disciplinary team which includes architects and art historians.
He works in sculpture, painting, photography, film and digital media. A guest of leading museums all over the world, he represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale in 2003. In 2016, Eliasson created a series of interventions for his exhibition at the Palace of Versailles, deploying mirrors and light, fog and water to amplify feelings of impermanence and transformation.
Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, co-owner of Château Mouton Rothschild and responsible for producing the label, explains: “I have been fascinated by Olafur Eliasson’s work for many years. His wonderful exhibition at Versailles in 2016 was a defining moment for me and I said to myself ‘One day, if he is willing, Olafur Eliasson will be one of Château Mouton Rothschild’s artists’. His art focuses on the essential and that is what he has managed to capture for Mouton Rothschild: time, the round of the seasons and the sun at the centre of everything, treated here in the form of a diagram.”
Art has always been central to the history of Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s family, and Château Mouton Rothschild has a long-standing and close link with leading contemporary artists.
Each year since 1945 a leading artist has illustrated the Château Mouton Rothschild label, forming a collection that features the most famous names in contemporary art. The prestigious list includes some of the most celebrated figures of their day, such as Dalí, César, Miró, Chagall, Picasso and Warhol. Many of these distinguished artists spent time at Château Mouton Rothschild, where their original artworks are displayed in the Paintings for the Labels room.