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“Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista” No. 15: to interpret it the American artist Joseph Kosuth

The character of the 2020 vintage is “The Proportion”. The project, over the years, has donated more than $2.3 million to museum institutions

2020 was able to convey the right characteristics of each grape variety to the wine in perfect ratio. That’s why Axel Heinz, director of the famous Bolgheri Estate, identified “The Proportion” as the character to portray this new Ornellaia, star of the “Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista” project No. 15. A project of high patronage, which, over the years, has distributed more than $2.3 million to leading cultural institutions and museum foundations such as the Solomon R.Guggenheim Foundation, which will be a partner for the next few years as well, to continue the important work of the Mind’s Eye program, which is concerned with facilitating the enjoyment of art for the blind. To transform into art the values of the 2020 vintage of one of Italy’s greatest and most celebrated wines, the U.S. artist, Joseph Kosuth, among the leading exponents and theorists of conceptual art, has been called upon. Whose name joins those of, among others, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Tomàs Saraceno, William Kentridge, Ernesto Neto, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Luigi Ontani, to name but a few.
“This year”, explained Tenuta Ornellaia director Axel Heinz in Bolgheri today, “nature and man, have drawn a perfect relationship between vine and thought, a true proportion of elegance, power and complexity”. Questioning conventional definitions and procedures of art, Kosuth focused his research on language, aiming to visually reveal the complexity of cultural codes. In the wake of this research, Kosuth has interpreted the character “The Proportion” - evoking the perfect balance of individual parts and unity - with a series of intellectually powerful works centered on the word “wine”. Kosuth’s interpretation is expressed in an evolving project that starts from the design for the 750 ml label, continues in the works created for the large formats, to the site-specific work designed for the estate. Some of the labels personalizing the large formats will be auctioned at Sotheby’s online auction scheduled for September 7-21, 2023, to be delivered to the cellars of lucky collectors.
Ornellaia 2020’s label “The Proportion” in 750 ml bottles, of which one specimen can be found in each 6-bottle case, sees a quote from Vitruvius (“proportion is nothing but the possibility of commensurate, according to a fixed module, the individual parts of a work and the whole as a whole; from this arises the symmetrical calculus”, De architectura 3. 1.3) in English engraved on paper; in the 100 examples of double magnums, the etymological tree of the word wine is affixed to the bottle in relief; while the 10 Imperials, all different, see the etymological tree made with the technique of engraving on glass. A single branch is highlighted in white and the Vitruvius quote translated into the highlighted language or one of its modern descendants: Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, Latin, Italian, Hindi, Hebrew, Modern Greek, Irish, German and Armenian. For the one-of-a-kind Salmanazar, the etymological tree and underlying Vitruvius quote are in English and the relief applied to the bottle is platinum.
Ornellaia Bolgheri Rosso Superiore Doc is a precious cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. From year to year these varieties blend in different percentages telling, in one voice, the vintage and terroir of Ornellaia. The vintage was punctuated by cold and rain alternating with long periods of drought and heat. Key, after a near-perfect summer, was a drop in temperature in late September, resulting in wines of great finesse and aromatic richness. “Ornellaia 2020 is well-structured and vibrant, filling the palate with its dense and elegant tannic texture, and on the finish it is persistent and leaves a wonderful freshness”, explained winemaker Olga Fusari.
“I think language is an important part of the experience of everything, and these experiences are formed in a certain way at the level of language. The architecture of experience through language”, the artist Joseph Kosuth commented further, “was obviously always in play, and I think Vitruvius was a great source for understanding a concept like proportion. Proportion is not only the balance of elements for the eye, but it is also a balance of all the elements that make it an entity of perfection of what it means to the world, thus forming it also as a conception”.
“Thanks to the continued support of Tenuta Ornellaia, we will expand Mind’s Eye programs to a global audience”, commented Richard Armstrong, director Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, “focusing on developing verbal descriptions in all our museums. We will produce content for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with translations in several languages. We will also continue events in New York and online programs, which will be available internationally, and focus on creating Mind’s Eye content for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. These projects will continue in 2024 to expand the program, increasing resources and audiences”.
“Today, at its 15th edition, I can proudly say that the Vendemmia d'Artista project is internationally recognized for its cultural and transversal value: we manage to connect in an identifiable way worlds as different yet surprisingly similar as wine and art. We are among the very few global partners of the Guggenheim whose Mind’s Eye project we support. It is a way of giving something of nature’s immense benevolence towards us back to the community”, said, with emotion, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of Tenuta Ornellaia and one of the most forward-looking managers in the fine wine industry internationally.

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