Jeppe Hein unveils ”participatory art installation” in new bottle design for Maison Ruinart
We speak to the Danish artist who also presents his latest solo show in Stockholm.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
May 23, 2022
Hein was born in Denmark, where he grew up on an organic farm near the ocean — life in the open air, with animals, a tractor and fields as far as the eye can see. He still loves nature and lives near Grunewald, a forest in the south of Berlin, where he also has a small studio. For more than ten years, he has exhibited all over the world.
Last weekend, your latest solo show opened at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. What do you show there?
— When Moderna Museet invited me, they asked me to not ship any artworks to Stockholm and instead create everything on site. I didn’t see it as a difficulty, but as an opportunity to continue what I have always been interested in: my artistic practice is about people, physical meetings, dialogue, and social interaction. You viewers are an essential part of my work and most of my installations can only be experienced through your presence. Sometimes I even offer you to create your own artworks. This time there will be no artwork at all without you. Will it change your understanding of art, of a museum, of yourself? Hein explains, continuing,
— At Moderna Museet, I have created creative spaces that encourage you to open up to new experiences, to entice new aspects of your individual skills and in that way push the boundaries of your individual personality. It will also allow you to enter into face to face dialogues with others since although we are connected to the world nowadays, there are less and less direct interpersonal encounters. The visible results and traces of our creativity and activity will be layered in the museum as sediments of social engagement. The constantly changing exhibition spaces will make every visit a new visit to wonder, dream, laugh, talk, relax, feel, and find out who you really are.
Jeppe Hein also just unveiled his collab with the world’s oldest champagne house, Ruinart, as part of the company’s artistic programme Carte Blanche, which every year invites artists to reinterpret its values.
— For my Carte Blanche project, I translated the sensory experience of making and tasting champagne into a participatory art installation to be experienced with all our five senses, and at the same time to connect us to the four elements — earth, water, air, and fire — which are essential to champagne making too. Each element is represented by a symbolic equivalent — a piece of chalk (earth), a raisin (sun), the scent of a Chardonnay flower (air) in a drop of essential oil (water) — and will be experienced with the five senses: sight, smell, hear, taste, and touch, he says, adding,
— My project is entitled Right Here, Right Now, since I believe it is only in the present you can really feel. It’s an invitation to embrace the moment; to activate all our senses; to open our hearts and reflect; to join a collective adventure, and at the same time to encounter a unique, individual experience placing us at the centre of the creative process. It will offer a moment of being right here, right now.
— Through his work as an artist, Jeppe Hein takes a fresh look at the world. Each piece is a playground, each moment becomes an experience that connects us to nature, others and the world. I was blown away by his skill as an ’orchestra conductor’: he plays with the four elements and makes the five senses vibrate with a generosity that draws our attention to the fragile beauty of life, Frédéric Panaïotis, cellar master, Maison Ruinart, adds.
With 25 signed and numbered copies, the boxed set by Jeppe Hein will be presented at the art fairs of which Maison Ruinart is a partner.
What else do you have coming?
— During the summer, one of my water pavilions will be on view in front of the Rockefeller Center in New York. And among many other solo and group shows my rollercoaster installation Distance can be experienced at Konschthal Esch in Luxemburg, Hein concludes.