The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has designed a label for one the world’s most-revered winemakers: Château Mouton Rothschild, which has in the past has tapped a rich lineage of artists for design duties including Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Georges Braque, Francis Bacon, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Niki de Saint Phalle, Rufino Tamayo, Robert Wilson, and Andy Warhol. Titled Solar Iris of Mouton, the artwork that adorns bottles of the newly released 2019 vintage alludes to the path of the sun in relation to Château Mouton Rothschild’s grape-bearing vines in Bordeaux, France.
In a press release, Eliasson said, “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.”
The label has two parts: a yellow half up top that represents the daytime and is adorned with analemmas (figure-eight shapes that trace the path of the sun in relation to the Earth), and a deep blue bottom half that represents the darkness of night. In the center is an oculus that provides at look at the wine inside. As Eliasson said, “Visible through the eye-like oculus at the center 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.”
In a statement, Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, co-owner of Château Mouton Rothschild, said, “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.’”
Other labels designed for the same purpose in the past have ranged widely in terms of look and messaging. A recent one by Annette Messenger shows a hand holding a wine glass beneath two female breasts. Another by Lee Ufan stays simple with just a minimalist dab of deep burgundy red.
Château Mouton Rothschild does not come cheap—the average price for the 2019 vintage currently on Wine-Searcher.com is $721.