Olafur Eliasson, the Danish-Icelandic artist, has created the original artwork Solar Iris of Mouton for the label of Château Mouton Rothschild 2019.
At the intersection of nature, art and science, Solar Iris of Mouton, created by Olafur Eliasson for Château Mouton Rothschild 2019, celebrates the alliance of sun and wine.
Solar Iris of Mouton 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.
About Château Mouton Rothschild
A Bordeaux First Growth, Château Mouton Rothschild spans 84 hectares (207 acres) of vines at Pauillac in the Médoc, planted with the classic varieties of the region: Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), Merlot (16%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%).
The estate benefits from exceptionally favourable natural conditions, in the quality of the soil, the position of its vines and their exposure to the sun. From grape to bottle, combining respect for tradition with the latest technology, the wine receives meticulous attention from highly skilled winemakers and vinegrowers responsible for each parcel of the estate. The grapes are harvested by hand in small open crates, sorted on vibrating tables and vinified in oak vats with some transparent staves, after which the wine is matured for 18 months in new French oak casks.
Château Mouton Rothschild now belongs to Baroness Philippine de Rothschild’s three children: Camille Sereys de Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild. True to their grandfather’s and mother’s work, all three are committed, with the same enthusiasm and determination, to perpetuating Baron Philippe’s dictum: “Vivre la vigne”. Almost a command, it means being there for the vineyard in good times and in hardship, working it with dedication, skill and craft, and honouring it with art.