Once again we partner up with Ruinart for the Miami Art Basel 2014. The House of Ruinart is continuing its commitment to art with the young Scottish artist Georgia Russell. She created a grandiose work which originated from the Grand Livre accounting book started by Nicolas Ruinart in 1729. Together with Ruinart, OBJEKT©International will be on the VIP section of the art fair (December 3th till December 7th, 2014)
It is in the year 1729 that the history of the House of Ruinart commences. Nicolas Ruinart’s flowing pen records the founding achievements of the House in Le Grand Livre. The incipit proclaims in large round letters: In the name of God and the Blessed Virgin, let this book commence. It is therefore under divine protection as well as under that of his uncle Dom Thierry Ruinart, a Benedictine monk with courageous and innovative ideas, that the draper launches his new wine business. Carefully turning the pages, we discover the dates and conditions of the first dispatch of wine in bottles, details of the acquisition of vine parcels and the quantities of the earliest grape supplies. This precious first book, Le Grand Livre, is the cornerstone of Ruinart.
Now Georgia Russell shapes history with her version of Le Grand Livre. She is a young Scottish visual artist and a graduate of the Royal College of Art. After winning a competition to reside in an artist’s residence in Paris, her explorations of the city became a source of inspiration to her imagination. Her wanderings led her to the booksellers along the banks of the Seine. She was moved by the old photographs and books, buying several of them to perfect her knowledge of French and to shape, touch, handle, cut and glue them.
Moreover, she enjoyed toying with these books transforming them into volumes and explosions. She began to want to share their new history, the history of time re-written in the present. Her work gradually became more personal, as she abandoned scissors for a tool that serves as a far more reliable extension to her arm and mind: the scalpel. The precision and finesse of her cutting out draws the attention to the words and highlights colour. Armed with the sharp tip, she chisels deep inside to extract their essence, giving birth to living shapes. “Stunning, grandiose, fantastic” the powerful adjectives accumulate as Georgia Russell describes the emotion that enveloped her during her visit to the chalk cellars of the House of Ruinart. These great cathedrals of chalk, the earliest of which date from the Gallo-Roman period, are ideal for the maturation of the champagne. The cellars were quarried entirely by hand to extract the stone required to construct the fortifications of Reims as well as certain religious buildings. The deepest of them are 38 metres high under vault and their numerous galleries form a network eight kilometres long. The artist captures the shafts of light that fall on the relief of the white surfaces with their endless repetition of markings that attest to the work of humankind and the passage of time.
This singular work brings to life the scalpel’s precise movements as it notches the pages, the marks made by time emphasized to offer a new perspective on the secret exclusive nature of this subterranean network of galleries. As a tribute to the extraordinary history of the House and its Grand Livre, Georgia Russell has created a grandiose sculpture, bringing the inanimate to life beneath her scalpel. As the light mingles with the words and creates relief she returns this history to the present, reviving memory. As she works, the silence is filled at regular intervals by the sound of the blade on the paper, a dry enchanting encounter. This repeated gesture is quick and precise.
It pays tribute to the work accomplished by the men in the chalk cellars. Discovering the cellars produced a strong emotional reaction for Georgia Russell and the memory of them is present in each of her gestures. Georgia Russell sublimates the bottle of Blanc de Blancs through this immaculate white ornament. The many notches cut with precision and finesse in this adornment play with the light reflected by the Chardonnay, the symbolic grape variety of the House. Its golden glints spread endlessly due to a magnifying effect. The white cathedrals act as guardians to the bottles of Ruinart.