An artistic happy new year with Zhang Huan
For the dawn of a new 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar, Hennessy invited Zhang Huan to honor the beauty of nature’s cycle of renewal.
“I like the word nilong which means ‘dragon swimming against the current.’ I like to exist under adversity.”
ZHANG HUAN'S EXPRESSION
As an emerging artist living in New York City in the 1990s, Zhang Huan first gained recognition for his provocative body performances themed around identity, society, and the (im)possibility of cultural dialogues.
Since returning to China, in 2005, Zhang Huan has focused on his Chinese heritage, turning to sculpture, installation and painting to express ancestral spiritual practices and rituals, and using incense ash found in Buddhist temples as a medium for addressing universal themes of transition and death.
Omnipresent spirituality, the continuity of past, present, and future, and the dialogue between East and West likewise pervade his new artwork in collaboration with Maison Hennessy, a monumental canvas evoking joy and the cycle of life entitled “Eaux-de-vie”.
Zhang Huan Visits the Hennessy Estate in Cognac
A glimpse of Chinese lanterns
“If you look closely, inside these cellules you can glimpse red Chinese lanterns, grapes, and amber eaux-de-vie,” notes Zhang Huan of his monumental artwork celebrating the 2020 Chinese New Year.
A Meeting of Minds
For this collaboration, the artist traveled to the Maison’s historic estate in Cognac, drawing inspiration from a personal tour with the House’s 8th-generation Master Blender, Renaud Fillioux de Gironde.
A Magical Alchemy
“He is the soul of the brand, leading his team through a rigorous selection process of eaux-de-vie that are then distilled in copper stills and aged in oak barrels to yield a pure liquid from the land,” observes the artist.
Entitled "Eaux-de-vie", his tribute creates a magical alchemy, blending the spirit of Hennessy with ancient Chinese philosophies.
Since 1765, Maison Hennessy has perfected the art of cognac-making, a tradition perpetuated by eight generations of Master Blenders. A legacy of cultural openness lets Maison Hennessy shine around the world, wherever its celebrated cognacs are shared.
In 1817, James Hennessy created a unique blend for the future King George IV of England. From the encounter of these two visionaries, was born the first Hennessy “Very Superior Old Pale,” know today as Hennessy V.S.O.P.
The savoir-faire of the Maison Hennessy is fully expressed in this balanced cognac: the selection of eaux-de-vie, aging and assemblage. A cognac of remarkable consistency and vitality, Hennessy V.S.O.P conveys all of the savoir-faire of the Hennessy master blenders who have ensured the continued success of this harmonious assemblage for 200 years.
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