Matthieu Gafsou’s series of photographs now on display at the Ruinart Art Lounge at Art SG 2024

By Hannah Choo 20 January, 2024
ruinart art lounge

Matthieu Gafsou’s series of intriguing images is inspired by nature and Maison Ruinart’s commitment to nature

It only makes sense for Ruinart to be the official champagne partner of Art SG, the largest art fair in Southeast Asia. The Maison has been a longstanding advocate of the art world since 1896, when the Czech painter, Alphonse Mucha, created its first commissioned artwork. Since then, artists have been selected annually to reflect on their vision of the Maison’s heritage as well as societal concerns.

More recently is the annual Prix Maison Ruinart award, which established in 2018. With the support of the Picto Foundation, the award recognises talented up-and-coming photographers, and in 2022, the award went to Matthieu Gafsou, a Lausanne-based artist with a keen interest in philosophy, literature and cinema. His works have been seen at the Musée de l’Elysée, Les Rencontres de la Photographie, and this week, as his Southeast Asian debut, the Ruinart Art Lounge at Art SG.

Matthieu Gafsou
Matthieu Gafsou, fluent in philosophy, literature and cinema, won the prestigious Prix de la fondation HSBC pour la photographie award in 2009. Photo by Ruinart

Open to anyone with a passion for art, nature and of course, delicious bubbly, the Ruinart Art Lounge will be dedicated to a series Gafsou created for the brand. Following an artist residency in Champagne, he created a series of intriguing images inspired by nature and Maison Ruinart’s commitment to nature (air travel doesn’t fly with Ruinart, at least when it comes to deliveries), aptly called Cette Constante Brûlere de l’Air. Translated to ‘this constant burning of the air’, he travelled the Champagne region during the heat wave of the summer of 2022, capturing its waterfronts and distant horizons before giving them the ‘crude oil treatment’—his subtle way of revealing a brutally ever-changing environment.

Cette constante brûlure de l’air
Cette Constante Brûlere de l’Air (2022). Photo by Matthieu Gafsou/Ruinart

For him, applying petrol is akin to traditional photographic print toning that uses chemicals to stain the image; gold, copper or selenium, for instance. “The visual effect produced by these unlikely images reflects the consequences of petrol on our environment: a pollutant that is everywhere, not just in one place,” he explained. “Visually, we can see that there is something ‘dirty’, but at the same time this dirt also creates an effect that is spectacular and beautiful, almost sublime. The concern or fear that these seemingly trivial scenes can exude the destructive power that people looked for in the mountains and oceans in the 19th century.”

Find Cette Constante Brûlere de l’Air at the Ruinart Art Lounge at Art SG (Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, basement two), happening until 21 January 2024. Tickets here.


Featured photo by Ruinart