Ornellaia celebrates ‘tension’ in 2016 vintage

Super Tuscan Ornellaia has commissioned Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat to “interpret” its 2016 vintage as part of the ‘Vendemmia d’Artista’ series.

The theme of this year’s vintage (the 11th in the art series) was ‘la tensione’ (tension), with Neshat drawing on the works of the famous 11th century poet Omar Khayyam.

She said: “Throughout centuries, in classical Persian literature, our great mystics and poets have continuously made references to wine, as a form of spiritual intoxication to the human soul, elevating the mind from the banality of everyday life to reach the depth of humanity and existence.

“Over the years, in my own artistic practice, I have consistently made use of ancient mystical Persian literature, either in the form of poetry inscribed as calligraphy over my photographic surfaces, or as songs in my videos and film-based work. In the work created for Ornellaia I inscribed a poem by the legendary poet, Omar Khayyām, titled: ‘Without pure wine I cannot exist’. He has written more than any other Persian poet about the relationship between wine and spirituality.”

Neshat created an art installation at the winery and customised a series of 111 large format bottles (100 double magnums, 10 imperials and one Salmanazar) as well as a special label that will be included on one 75cl bottle in each case of the 2016 vintage.

As Ornellaia said in a statement: “The labels represent details of female faces, hands and bodies completely covered by Farsi calligraphy. These contrasts between the softness of the skin and the graphic nature of the text seduce the eye and engage the imagination.”

The large format bottles will be sold by Sotheby’s at a later date in support of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s ‘Mind’s Eye’ project which supports those with impaired or no vision.

Ornellaia has just agreed a three year partnership to support the project through its Vendemmia d’Artista series.

Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO Ornellaia, said: “Today, as the Vendemmia d’Artista marks its 11th year, it continues to attract funds helping the Art. In just its first ten editions, we have succeeded in donating more than two million dollars across the globe, just a small drop perhaps, but there is much more to come, and we are very proud to help the Mind’s Eye project of Guggenheim for the next years.

“It is a great pleasure for Ornellaia to be able to establish a long-term relationship between our Vendemmia d’Artista project and an art institution of such international stature as the Guggenheim Museum. Appreciation of great wine, like that of great art, requires the involvement of all the senses, and that is precisely why we decided to lend our support to a project of such stature as “Mind’s Eye,” designed to assist sight-challenged adults to experience art through creation of a model that utilises all the senses to provide an entryway for enjoying art throughout the world. This initiative will be, without any doubt, an invaluable heritage for future generations.”

Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, added: “We are deeply grateful that beginning this year, proceeds from the sale of Ornellaia Vendemmia D’Artista will be donated to the Guggenheim Museum in support of the Mind’s Eye program.  The founding mission of the Guggenheim was to collect and exhibit art that was not just modern, not just new, but revolutionary.  Thanks to Ornellaia, we can extend that mission to an even broader audience”.

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