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Wines that give artists a voice

After Château la Coste and Commanderie de Peyrassol, the Art Center of Bonisson recently launched in Provence, surrounded by its eponymous vineyard. Since the Rothschilds in Mouton over 80 years ago, the connections between art and wine have been increasing. A reasoned marriage?

Aymeric Mantoux

By Aymeric Mantoux22 juillet 2021

Château Bonisson in the village of Rognes, in Provence (DR)

Just nearby Château La Coste, the garrigue hills surround the charming village of Rognes. In its heights, vast clay and limestone terraces have been planted with grapevines for hundreds of years. After a turn on a small road lined with plane trees, a plaque shows the entrance of Château Bonisson. Downwards on the right, a barrel cellar is in construction. Just behind it, the White cube recently inaugurated this Spring fits perfectly with the old wine building. As an informed collector, Christian Le Dorze is passionate by geometrical and concrete art, so the art center exhibits his favorite pieces. In May, he exhibited Georges Rousse, this Summer follows with Nicolas Chardon and Michel Verhux. “I have been a collector for many years, and I had already organized several exhibitions in Dijon in a unique location which sprung much interest”, shares the former doctor now residing in Switzerland, and previously owner of a group of private clinics. “I follow my passion for art and transmission with this art center, and I would want it to remain totally independent. I welcome guests for free.”

Work by Georges Rousse exhibited at Château Bonisson (DR)

While art still participates in improving the image of wine or champaign brands who communicate through this channel, this doesn’t always start with a marketing objective

Roxana Azimi, journalist and art critic

Most often, he handles guided tours himself, which are increasing, and guides passionate people who go through the touristic journey of art foundations in the South of France. The incredible Château La Coste and its great sculpture parc is very near, Commanderie de Peyrassol isn’t far. For a few years now, art and wine have seemed to be functioning together. “While art still participates in improving the image of wine or champaign brands who communicate through this channel, this doesn’t always start with a marketing objective, analyses Roxana Azimi, journalist and art critic. There are some big fails, like Pommery for example, and true successes like Peyrassol.” And it is in this direction that Bonisson seems to be heading, with its well-thought-out program and management in the hands of one person, coherent with the wine domain that shares the same name.

Artists that create vineyards and wineries

Christian Le Dorze, contemporary art enthusiast and owner of Château Bonisson (DR)

When we met with him, he enjoyed explaining guests present the details of Georges Rousse’s work about anamorphosis. A singular artistic principal which consists in conceiving an image that only reveals itself from a single point of view. It has been the foundation of Georges Rousse’s work for 40 years and he had the honor of inaugurating the art center of Château de Bonisson in Rognes. A well-known painter, photographer, conceptual artist since the 1970s, Rousse is also a close friend of the new domain owner, acquired four years ago.
Bonisson was in very bad shape. Everything had to be remodeled. The new acquirer then decided to trust the artist with transforming the abandoned interior spaces. Rousse appropriated them completely, by locking doors, cutting out partitions and converting ephemeral geometrical shapes, colorful, powerful, and intriguing, in places set out to disappear. He then created surprising shapes, astonishing especially when observed from a point of view decided by the artist, and which reveals the right perspective. Otherwise, the distortion game, the “roussian grammar” doesn’t function.

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