NEW YORK, 23 March 2005—For most, wine and chocolate excite the sensual
passions. Recently, however, these delicacies have
inspired artisitic efforts in the visual arts: wine, a controversial
documentary from filmmaker Johnathan Nossiter;
and chocolate, an exhibition of commissioned sculptures at
the Ludwig Museum in Cologne.
First screened in competition for the Palme
d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, Nossiter's Mondovino
arrives in US theatres today.
Through a series of provocative and intimate
interviews the American director reveals the different points of view of
winemakers around the world – from those working traditionally with their
land to those working on an industrial scale advocating a globalization of
Whether large or small, the wine industry as
documented in the film is centered around families: the billionaire
Napa Valley Mondavi clan, rival aristocratic dynasties grappling in
Tuscany, and three generations of a Burgundian family persevering
on twenty acres of vineyard.
Burgundian vintner Hubert de Montille
Nossiter also looks at the impact of Michel Rolland, considered by many
to be the most important wine consultant in the world, and of the highly
influential wine critic, Robert Parker. Sensibilities run high (notably in
France) in this account of progressive globalisation and unashamed
political expediency. Mondovino also takes aim at the
entertainment industry and its marketing machines, which Nossiter
considers to be a form of fascist totalitarianism.
Jonathan Nossiter is also finishing a 10-part wine miniseries from the
500 hours of material originally shot for
Mondovino. ThinkFilm, which acquired the North American
rights, plans to release both on DVD.
Meanwhile, the idea of using chocolate as a material in their work has
fascinated artists from the twentieth century up to the present day. In
Cologne, Germany, the Ludwig Museum's Art in Chocolate project, on view
until 19 June 2005, is intended to trace this fascination through the
works of twenty contemporary artists.
Each artist has been commissioned to produce a model for a small
sculpture, using chocolate as a medium. The results are presented by the
Ludwig Museum and Cologne’s Chocolate Museum in a joint exhibition. Among
the invited artists are Claes Oldenburg, Ilya Kabakov, Andreas Slominski,
Karin Sander, Tom Otterness, and Nicola Torke.