Erwin Olaf and the House of Ruinart

by Unseen September 16 2016

This year Unseen has partnered up with Ruinart – the oldest established champagne house, producing champagne since 1729. During Unseen Photo Fair, Ruinart will not only be providing champagne, but also exhibiting the work of Erwin Olaf in the Erwin Olaf x Ruinart Lounge. Read more on Erwin Olaf and his collaboration with Ruinart below.

Hoping to capture the impressive, old champagne cellars of the Ruinart House – listed as one of UNESCO’s heritage sites – Ruinart quickly turned to Dutch multidisciplinary artist Erwin Olaf. His work is characterised by his perfectionist flair, with which he personally designs and stylizes all his visual aspects. Whilst making use of scenic light, perfectly executed make-up and carefully constructed sites, he addresses social topics and taboos. Examples of returning themes in his work are loneliness, the transitory nature of life and death. The photographs he captured for Ruinart tell the fascinating story of the champagne cellars of Ruinart House.

Every year Ruinart offers artists a carte blanche. Erwin Olaf was particularly drawn to this sense of freedom. The artist is known for his structural way of working and his use of light, but his series for Ruinart turned out very differently from his usual baroque style. The passion and excitement usually reflected in his personas and portraits are replaced by a sense of serenity, as if time has stood still.

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