Thursday, 07 December 2017 10:25

Under/standing – the sculpture

Written by  Tessa Nicholson

It stands eight metres tall, weighs three and a half tonnes, has 52 individual components and arrived as a flat pack, that required two cranes to lift it up, to the magnificent structure it now is.

Under/standing, a CorTen steel installation piece, is the end result of an international collaboration between Brancott Estate and New York based designer, Dror Benshetrit, that began three years ago. Dror spent three weeks in Marlborough with Brancott Estate’s Chief Winemaker, Patrick Materman back in 2015. His time was spent walking among the vines, tasting the wines and getting to understand the ethos of the company. The brief at the time was to translate the winery’s innovation-driven spirit and winemaking process through a unique design. When his conceptual design was released, he explained his reasoning.

“I envisioned an installation that appeared as it if grew from the ground in the same geometric orientation as the grapevines, while encapsulating the entire winemaking process with its static presence.”

He has certainly achieved that, with the installation an array of angles and symmetry, that gives the impression that is has risen from the ground to stand guard over the thousands of rows of vines that make up Marlborough’s very first modern day vineyard.

“Looking at the rows (of vines) that create this beautiful effect when you drive past or walk through, creates this amazing movement,” Dror said at the official opening in October. “I tried to create something that was three dimensional. When you move around it, you sometimes see it in a two dimensional way, but as you move it expands. This to me related to the idea of wine expanding in flavour and complexity over time.”

CorTen steel was specifically chosen because of the way it continues to evolve over time, which is also what wine does. Dror said the colour which currently transitions between brown and orange, will continue to change colour – eventually settling into the more orange hues. Materman echoed his feelings of the evolution of the installation and Dror’s comparison with wine, although he did add, he hoped his wines would not move into orange hues with age.

“Dror talked about how as you move around this sculpture, you see it quite differently”, Materman said. “To me wine is like that as well. You can taste wines in different contexts and it might look quite differently. The patina of the sculpture will change in time and wine does as well. What might start off as having some gloss and fine edges, ultimately gains sophistication, complexity and real depth of character as well.”

Commenting that it was the fusion of art and science that drew him to winemaking, Materman went on to say; “This shared use of science to create art is what inspired us to work with Dror, whose combined love of poetry and structure is clear in his work.”

As for the name of the installation, Under/standing, Dror said he hopes that will become clear to anyone viewing it up close.

“Stand underneath, understand the geometry, immerse yourself and interact with it.”

To commemorate the installation Brancott Estate have released two limited edition wines. The Reflection range includes a Sauvignon Blanc/Sauvignon Gris 2016 blend and Pinot Noir 2015.


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