Hubert Burda Media

The Art of Champagne

Using photography to represent the intensity of Dom Pérignon’s P2 Vintage 1998, photographer Yian Huang showcases his talent.

Widely regarded as an art form in itself, the world of winemaking instead threw the spotlight on three Singapore creatives when Champagne house Dom Pérignon introduced a trio of cuvées — 2005, Rosé 2003 and P2 Vintage 1998 — at a recent private event.

Held at The Pit Building, the launch was an immersive exhibition that featured the works of photographer Yian Huang, who is best known for his work in documenting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (in 2004 to 2005); artist Dawn Ng, known for her guerrilla installations of Walter the giant rabbit; and Janice Wong who took home the Asia’s Best Pastry Chef award at the San Pellegrino Asia Top 50 awards in 2013 and 2014.

Tasked to interpret one of the three vintages through their art, Ng filled a white tent with a sea of inflated orbs, taking inspiration from the perfect balance of the 2005 vintage, while Wong’s edible art, which hung from the ceiling, was conceived as a response to the extreme weather conditions of 2003.

Looking more like a spot in a highbrow art gallery was the photo series Fly For Me by Huang. Featuring dancers in mid-motion, the photographs capture the interplay between power and grace — referencing the radiant bouquet and tingling energy of the Dom Pérignon P2 Vintage 1998.

Huang tells me the series is one of his most personal works to date. “In this age of Facebook where everyone is always on their phones, we miss out on human connections. Champagne is one product that brings people together to bond over a glass. It’s the same thing with my photos. When I was taking them, there was an intense personal desire [on my part] to connect with the dancers and choreograph with them,” he shares.

He likens the dancers who “float up in the air and seem effortless” to the “very light and airy” quality of the champagne. While different mediums and art forms, both also have in common a certain sense of intensity, structure and elegance.

Although two photographs from the series have already exhibited at Paris’s Palais de Louvre, Huang was still drawn to share these other photos out of a respect for the artistry held by Dom Pérignon winemakers. “[They] dedicated their whole life to this tiny sliver of knowledge which the rest of us can barely even appreciate. But to them, it’s so precise and so important. That level of craftsmanship really speaks to me.”

The appreciation for craft, is something Charles-Antoine Picart, the house’s Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific also relates to. Of the 1998 vintage he says: “It was not a very challenging year [in terms of growing conditions], which is what made it a good year to make a statement about the style of Dom Pérignon, because you have the raw materials to do something classic. It’s a perfect year for that…And with the second plenitude [a term the brand uses to denote a vintage’s second release after further ageing] the energy, and intensity is pushed up a little bit.” Much like Fly With Me, we say.