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©Philippe Labeguerie

G. Finaz de Villaine Transforms a Wine Vat to Create A Bespoke Work of Art

Every year since 2016, an artist has been called in to decorate the wine cellar at the prestigious Chateau les Carmes Haut-Brion in the Bordeaux region. The artist then delivers their interpretation of the property’s vintage and character by designing and then painting a wine vat.

This year, the chateau called upon KAZoART to find artists to decorate the vat wherein the 2019 vintage would be held. KAZoART created a shortlist of ten artists whose work would fit the bill. These artists then submitted their designs to the chateau.

In the end, Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine, a best-selling KAZoART artist, was chosen by the selection committee. The massive project could now begin!

Art at the Carmes

At Château les Carmes Haut-Brion, art is brought to the forefront. It has already carved out a place on the grounds with the inauguration of a magnificent and futuristic wine cellar designed by Philippe Starck and Luc Arsène-Henry. This raw metal blade planted in the soil is a true architectural feat that not only gives the landscape a more modern edge but also houses the wines that have yet to be bottled.

@Les Carmes Haut-Brion
@Les Carmes Haut-Brion
@Les Carmes Haut-Brion

Since its inauguration, several artists have decorated the vats: Ara Starck (2015), Sergio Mora (2016), Beniloys (2017) and the Collectif la Douceur (2018). To truly embody the 2019 vintage, the chateau called on the artist Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine whose originality and modernity were much appreciated! What’s more, her design will be replicated on the labels of the bottles of this 2019 vintage.

Behind the Project

The artist chose Bacchus, the god of wine, theater and tragedy, as inspiration for her semi-figurative yet abstract depiction.

« I put my « caviar ink » technique at the service of a young face, dialoguing with its neighbor with antique accents, whose hair studded with grapes, pampers and fig trees reminds Arcimboldo and Italy. »

« I opted for black and white, in homage to the work of Philippe Stark, to the codes of luxury, and because I found the idea of a « sticker » painting interesting, since it could be duplicated on the bottles as a label. »

© Philippe Labeguerie

Mysterious symbols dot this vat-totem, alluding to the vagaries of the seasons, the maturation of the drink and the esoteric qualities of wine. It is once again a question of magic and spirituality for this 2019 edition. Bacchus, with his magnetic yet piercing gaze, will have the mission of incarnating the guardian of the temple, this sumptuous crypt.

Let’s Meet the Artist, Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine

Hello Gwendoline! Tell us about your beginnings?

My artistic career first began in opera in 2002 with the Roger Louret Company. I then became interested in literature by writing a trilogy called « Les Brumes de Grandville », and then another novel in 2019.

At the same time, I have always drawn and painted a lot, but the trigger was when I discovered a Picasso drawing from the personal collection of photographer François Halard. This inspired me to begin drawing even more.

You write, sing and paint. What synergy(ies) take place between these artistic practices?

For me, there is no difference, I think that everything is connected. There is an obvious dialogue between singing and writing and painting completes it all – it is the summit of the pyramid, the trifecta.

Les autres (détail)

Mixed Media (42 x 60 cm)

Les autres (détail)

Mixed Media (42 x 60 cm)

I am delighted to have started painting at the age of 40 because art is nourished by experiences. And at the same time, drawing reconnects us to the innocence of childhood, the hypnotic technique of my little circles lulls and soothes me.

« I never know where a painting is going to take me and I am always amazed at the end result. » Can you tell us more about your creative process?

Sometimes « the ink does what it wants », I don’t control everything, I am aware of that; I have never controlled everything in my creative process.

As in meditation, I think that we are crossed by many things when we reach a total letting go, and when I see some paintings again, I wonder how I could have arrived at that point. Painting remains the most mysterious art for me, and at the same time, it reveals the psychological state of the artist. Painting is my open unconscious.

Totems, Japanese works, symbols: how would you define your style?

I invented a technique that I called « caviar ink », made up of small springs or circles. It is a style that is very personal and looks like Japanese art, Yakuza tattooing.

L’élixir de l’amour

Mixed Media (100 x 67 cm)

When I was ten years old, I was very marked by a visit to a psychiatric institute with my father, who is a psychotherapist in Nantes. A patient at the center spent her days drawing huge pictures of small detailed springs with a blue ballpoint pen. This process seemed to sooth her.

Why do people obsessively draw little circles on paper all day? That’s a question I’ll have to answer one day.

The Venice International Fair, Panama Art Biennial, The Grand Palais in Paris and now the Château les Carmes Haut Brion: what memories have you drawn from these different experiences?

I’ve realized that there are still many mediums to be invented. The city is an open-air museum, I am more and more fascinated by walls, frescoes, original supports, which allow for infinite deployment.

I would like to create an exhibition in space or cover a NASA spaceship with « caviar » squiggles. Why should the conquest of the stars be limited to the scientific and touristic domains? Space exploration must also be artistic, because art is the true universal language. This is a subject to be explored in the years to come.

Gwendoline Finaz de Villaine’s Gallery

Le dormeur du Val

Acrylic Painting (30 x 42 cm)


Mixed Media (42 x 60 cm)

Météore-fairy tale

Mixed Media (42 x 60 cm)

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