Johannesburg selected as one of four cities in the world to host Hennessy’s 250th anniversary art exhibition featuring world-renowned artists including Anton Corbijn, Charles Sandison and Pierrick Sorin
Hennessy, the world’s most superior and best selling cognac, is celebrating its 250th anniversary. It’s a remarkable adventure that has spanned over eight generations and across five continents.
The Hennessy 250 Tour was specially curated to celebrate this momentous anniversary: conceived as an unprecedented, hybrid cultural event, this major travelling exhibition is dedicated to those who have made Hennessy what it is today.
Curated by Hervé Mikaeloff and featuring internationally renowned artists, photographers, filmmakers and designers including Charles Sandison, Anton Corbijn and Xavier Veilhan, the exhibition will touch down in four legendary locations around the world throughout 2015, including Guangzhou in China, Moscow in Russia and New York in USA. Circa Gallery in Johannesburg was selected to represent the African leg of the tour and – in addition to the world-renowned artists – will also feature the work of South African artist Dineo Bopape. The Hennessy 250 Tour will be on at Circa Gallery in Johannesburg from 20 – 25 August 2015.
Art that transcends cultures and generations
The Hennessy family were early patrons of the arts and have always been close to artists themselves – from collaborating with the greatest artist of time to the icons of contemporary pop culture and designers of the 21st century.
It’s for this reason that The Hennessy 250 Tour sets out to give a 360° creative and artistic perspective on the legendary cognac brand’s past, present and future – mainly by using a trove of archival materials, portraits, and films that recounts the Hennessy family’s rendezvous with important moments in history and its global adventure.
In addition, art curator Mikaeloff is no stranger to the Maison Hennessy, having orchestrated the 2007 “Beauté du Siècle” exhibition in celebration of the 100thbirthday of Kilian Hennessy, a direct descendant of founder Richard Hennessy.
Says Mikaeloff: “It was a natural progression for me to curate The Hennessy 250 Tour, considering the relationship I’ve held with the Maison over the years. I also carefully selected each artist as they, too, capture and celebrate the spirit of Hennessy.”
Celebrated visual artist Charles Sandison is just one of Mikaeloff’s specially selected artists. His “Infinitas” installation is inspired by written archives from the Hennessy Maison, and speaks to the tale of the two families – Hennessy (the founding family) and Fillioux (the master blender family) – who created the DNA of the brand and who have been driving it forward for 250 years. Interestingly, the multi-generational legacy of the two families is not only unique to Hennessy but also to the wider cognac world.
Illustrious photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn – known for his collaboration with music legends such as U2 and Depeche Mode – reveal the real soul of the Maison with his powerful portrait series: it features, amongst others, photographs of the winegrower, a cooper, the calligrapher and an agent for Hennessy in Africa. Corbijn succeeds in powerfully and masterfully capturing the personality and energy of those who have driven the DNA of Hennessy forward over the years.
Then there’s also “The Secret of Legacy”, an installation by multimedia artist Tony Oursler. It’s a symbolic and sensory interpretation of the secrets shared between the members of the Comité de Dégustation (The Tasting Committee) – the seven men who meet daily at 11am to taste and select eaux-de-vie (spirit before it’s blended and matured into cognac) that will ensure the quality and consistency of the Hennessy family of cognacs is continued in generations to come.
The panoramic stage is the one highlight South Africans will truly look forward to. This interactive platform, created by renowned designer Constance Guisset, speaks to Hennessy’s legacy of skilfully adapting to the different cultures and continents it has encountered over its 250-year legacy. It’s here where visitors can catch local artist Dineo Bopape’s video installation that poetically reflects Hennessy’s 150-year-old relationship with Africa.
Leave you legacy
Another highlight to The Hennessy 250 Tour is the Hennessy Time Barrel. This creative interactive installation upholds the Hennessy legacy of transmission from one generation to the next – just as the Maison preserves its eaux-de-vie for future generations.
Visitors of the Hennessy 250 Tour Time Barrel installation at Circa Gallery are invited to send a digital text or video message to the future. This 21st century time capsule will preserve these messages left in 2015 in a barrel in Hennessy’s historic cellars in Cognac, and will remain sealed in the Time Barrel until it will be opened half a century from now, on the occasion of Hennessy’s next anniversary celebration in 2065.
The Hennessy 250 Tour and Hennessy Time Barrel will be hosted at Circa Gallery in Johannesburg from 20 – 25 August 2015. The Hennessy Time Barrel will also make a stop at the Diamond Walk in Sandton City from 27 August to 5 of September. Those who are outside of Johannesburg can leave their message to future generations at www.sendingamessagetothefuture.com