Founded in 1729, Maison Ruinart is the ﬁrst established champagne house. Each year, artists receive carte blanche to express their vision of the Maison, to share its heritage, savoir-faire and the excellence of its cuvées. In 2019, the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz was chosen to pay tribute to the terroir and the savoir-faire that the Maison is rooted in. During his art residency, he created a series of works inspired by winegrowers and vineyards facing challenging natural conditions. Through the use of organic elements such as pieces of blackened wood, charcoal or chardonnay leaves, his photographs highlight our perception of scale and play with our senses.
Vik Muniz was born in 1961 in São Paulo, Brazil. At the age of 14, he began studying art while attending night school on a scholarship, discovering many masterpieces and academic sculptures. After working for a short time at an advertising agency, where he showed an interest in the power of, and working with, images, he expanded the scope of his activities to Chicago in 1984 and then to New York, among other places. At the time, Muniz focused on producing sculptures, and in 1989 he held his first exhibition at the Stux Gallery in New York, marking the start of his international career. Among Muniz’s works are many that deal with social issues and have political importance. One example is his 2008 “Pictures of Garbage,” the result of three years spent alongside the catadores (garbage pickers) in Rio de Janeiro’s largest landfill, scavenging for recyclables and scrap wood with which he re-created many masterpieces, such as Jacques-Louis David’s “Death of Marat.” Countless pieces that Muniz made from discarded items were put up for auction at Sotheby’s, with $250,000 (approximately ¥27,000,000) of the proceeds going to the catadore community. The documentary film Waste Land, which depicts the project, has won many awards. Through collaborations with many luxury brands, Vik Muniz has raised funds for social welfare projects and opened a school in the slums of Rio de Janeiro where youth are taught audiovisual technology. In this way, the artist hopes to create opportunities for young people like the life-changing scholarship he himself received at the age of 14.