Hennessy, the world’s best-selling Cognac, is proud to honor Lunar New Year by unveiling a groundbreaking collaboration with internationally renowned Chinese artist Zhang Huan. 2020 is particularly special as it marks the start of a new cycle with the Year of the Rat. In that spirit, Hennessy for the first time commissioned a monumental work of art, called Eaux-de-vie, from Zhang Huan, in addition to a design for special Lunar New Year editions of the Hennessy collection.
As Hennessy and Zhang Huan became better acquainted, they found in each other a kindred spirit. For both the Cognac house and the artist, modernity lies in honoring one’s heritage, while always seeking to explore new frontiers. A sense of adventure has defined Hennessy since its founding, and yet the Cognac producer has also upheld a tradition of transmitting savoir-faire for eight generations – a unique feat in the history of Cognac.
For his part, Zhang Huan came into his own as an emerging artist while living in New York City, in the 1990s. Drawing on his time as a foreigner in the United States, Huan imbues his work with life experience earned through travel.
“Being abroad gave me a deeper understanding of my tradition, perhaps because I had to see myself from far away,” said Zhang Huan. “I believe that Chinese and Western cultures are meant to integrate with each other, which is why I sought to incorporate a sense of movement in this work. We never know where life may take us, but I do believe that everything that has gone before leads up to the present moment. That is what I want to celebrate in my creations.”
For the Hennessy commission, Zhang Huan sought to create a work of art that would express a sense of joy and celebration, as well as a reflective quality that captures the essential mediations every New Year brings. “Making art is about using an object as a vehicle to express inner thoughts, or a spiritual side,” the artist explained. “Eaux-de-vie is intended as a natural, living expression.”
A vibrant and resonant dreamscape, Zhang Huan’s Eaux-de-vie captures a universal spirit. Measuring over 16 feet long, the original painting was inspired by Hennessy’s world-famous library of eaux-de-vie, which the artist recasts as a mystical metaphor with layers of meaning.
Distilled through the artist’s signature visual language, Hennessy’s precious eaux-de-vie appear like individual cellules that come together in a unique whole. Upon closer viewing, red lanterns, grapes and amber Cognac become apparent within each cellule. The longer the viewer gazes at the work, the more the cellules seem to take on a life of their own, floating freely through space like so many symbols of each individual’s place in the universe. A strong color palate underscores the season’s joyful mood.
To celebrate the collaboration with Zhang Huan and usher in the Year of the Rat, Hennessy will host a series of Lunar New Year celebrations across the globe, including New York City and Los Angeles.
The special Lunar New Year editions of the Hennessy collection (V.S.O.P Privilège, X.O) by Zhang Huan are available for purchase at fine retailers nationwide. For more information, please visit Hennessy.com/US, YouTube.com/HennessyUS, Facebook.com/Hennessy, or Instagram.com/HennessyUS.