Cover Autumn at Château Mouton Rothschild (Photo: Mathieu Anglada/Saison d'Or)

The lettering for Château Mouton Rothschild's 2018 vintage label appears to feature traditional Chinese characters, but the symbols are actually made up of the Latin alphabet

Château Mouton Rothschild's 2018 vintage label features a new artwork by leading Chinese artist Xu Bing. The piece reflects on the illusory nature of appearances, which is a central theme of Xu Bing's Square World calligraphy series, which organises English letters into shapes resembling Chinese characters. 

Xu Bing expresses his calligraphic creativity in the 2018 label by rewriting "Mouton Rothschild" in a unique script, where the words are reshaped using the codes of traditional Chinese ideography, suggesting the union of different cultures. 

The experience of looking at the Square World Calligraphy series, where different meanings become clearer upon closer inspection, is similar to tasting fine wine, when aromas and flavours slowly reveal themselves. 

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"I am honoured to have been contacted by the Rothschild Family to imagine the label for the 2018 vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild. My inspiration for creating the label comes from the reality of our lives. Viewers will realise that their existing knowledge no longer works as they view this piece, and it is the same principle they face in today’s world. We are urged to seek a new perspective and pivot our point of view to comprehend what is going on in the world," says Xu Bing.

Xu Bing, who majored in printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, started practising calligraphy from an early age. Since then, his work has been exhibited at the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His most celebrated works include monumental sculptures and installations, such as Book from the Sky and Phoenix and Background Stories.

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"When I discovered Xu Bing, I was captivated by him as an inventor of signs endowed with incredible poetic power. And then I said to myself that our labels were also signs, each work of art referring to a year: the 1973 vintage can also be called the Picasso Mouton as the 2018 vintage will be called the Xu Bing Mouton," said Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, vice-chairman of the board of directors, Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA.

Château Mouton Rothschild has a long-standing and close link with leading contemporary artists. Since 1945, a great artist has illustrated the label of Château Mouton Rothschild, bringing together household names in contemporary art including Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.

Before making their work, these esteemed artists spend time at Château Mouton Rothschild. Afterwards, their original works go on display at the estate's Paintings for the Labels Room.

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