The character of Ornellaia 2009, the fourth edition of Vendemmia d’Artista, was “L’Equilibrio”. It was chosen to describe the conditions throughout the year, which yielded very different traits such as freshness and heat, precociousness and slowness that aged perfectly in barriques and discovered their balance in the blend.
Zhang Huan was the artist chosen to interpret “L’Equilibrio”.
Zhang Huan is a performer, sculptor and painter as well as being one of the most important figures on the Chinese and international contemporary art scene. Born in An Yang City (Henan), China, in 1965, after spending time in New York, he has lived and worked in Shanghai since 2006. A multifaceted artist and experimenter, he boasts a wealth of artistic output. Performance, photography, sculpture, video and painting are the instruments that the artist uses to rediscover his roots and the traditions of Chinese culture, conveyed in close connection with the past, nature and his own personality. The recurrent element in his works is the interpretation of far eastern traditions in a contemporary key. The result of this process is art that vaunts a sophisticated versatility and an extreme aesthetic impact. His works stem from the intrinsic bond between Buddhist spiritual practices and certain traditional Chinese techniques, as well as iconographic and cultural sources from which the artist takes contemporary inspiration, combined with extreme expressive versatility. The strength of Zhang Huan is innovation that contains tradition, plus the ability to make a deep connection with art, icons and the themes of Chinese tradition truly contemporary.
THEME AND SPECIAL LABELS
Zhang Huan was inspired by Confucius, the philosopher who lived in China in the sixth century BCE, calling his project ‘Questioning Confucius’. An integral part of the project are the labels for an extremely limited set of large-format bottles of Ornellaia, which were designed in close connection with the work of art: a steel sculpture that depicts the Chinese master. The double magnums display a label with the philosopher’s face embossed with a phrase that alludes to the pursuit of wisdom that can only be achieved with age. The Imperial bottles are designed as a standalone set: each bottle shows the figure of Confucius at different points in his life. Every bottle features a phrase that alludes to the achievement of wisdom with age. The three- and six-litre bottles are individually numbered and signed personally by the artist. The sole Salmanazar features a precious oval steel sculpture that is engraved with a portrait of Confucius and is signed by Zhang Huan.
Some of the large-format bottles of Vendemmia d’Artista “L’Equilibrio” were sold at the Sotheby’s auction held on 27 April 2012 in Hong Kong. The profits were donated to the H2 Foundation for Arts and Education.