Zhang Huan in profie

Born in Anyang City in He Nan Province, China, in 1965, and now based in Shanghai and New York, Zhang Huan is one of the world’s most important contemporary artists.

Since bursting on to the international art scene in the 1990s by staging performance art events in New York City, he has become equally well known for sculptures and paintings. Zhang is particularly renowned for his innovative use of mediums such as incense ashes, in addition to more conventional materials.

Blending Western artistic techniques and concepts with traditional Chinese cultural production is central to his artistic process. Zhang Huan is represented by one of the world’s most prestigious art institutions, Pace Gallery.

Hennessy is celebrating Chinese New Year 2020 through what it dubs a “ground-breaking” collaboration with Chinese artist Zhang Huan and DFS at Changi Airport.

Zhang (see panel right) is a leading talent on the international contemporary art scene.

The partnership finds expression in a pop-up boutique at Terminal 1, while activations that highlight Zhang’s work are also in place at T3 and T4.

To commemorate the Year of the Rat, Hennessy commissioned  Zhang to create a work of art called Eaux-de-vie, together with a special Chinese New Year design for editions of the Hennessy collection.

Travellers can purchase a limited-edition VSOP bottle – a travel retail Asia Pacific exclusive only available at Changi.

Zhang’s bright and engaging artwork is displayed across all Changi terminals through Chinese New Year-themed photo booths and limited-edition packaging which highlights the dedicated art of gifting.

Travellers can personalise their Hennessy carafes with engraving services, receive limited-edition red packets, and collect a Changi Airport exclusive –Singapore charms for adorning their Hennessy bottles.

At the Terminal 1 pop-up, the artwork has inspired a molecular tasting bar for travellers to immerse themselves in the spirit of Eaux-de-vie. There, consumers can discover two different Hennessy VSOP cocktails encapsulated in molecular pearls.

For this Hennessy commission, Zhang Huan sought to create a work of art that would express “a reflective quality capturing the essential meditations every New Year brings”.

“Making art is about using an object as a vehicle to express inner thoughts, or a spiritual side,” he commented. “Eaux-de-vie is intended as a natural, living expression.”

Zhang Huan’s Eaux-de-vie painting, which measures over five meters long, was inspired by Hennessy’s library of eaux-de-vie, which the artist has recast as a mystical metaphor with layers of meaning.

Distilled through the artist’s visual language, Hennessy’s eaux-de-vie resemble individual cells that converge into a whole. Upon closer viewing, red lanterns, grapes and amber Cognac become apparent within each cell.

“At Hennessy, we recognise that travel retail is an amazing platform to build brand desirability in front of affluent and sophisticated consumers,” says Moët Hennessy Global Travel Retail President Laurent Boidevezi.

“Crafting experiences is at the heart of Moët Hennessy’s DNA. This Chinese New Year, along with DFS Group and Changi Airport Group, we wanted to combine the traditional with modernity by presenting customers with a revolutionary molecular tasting experience using Hennessy VSOP. We want to inspire them to recreate a classic cocktail for their own experiences during this festive season.”

“Changi Airport Group continues to work with Hennessy and DFS Group to create unique and one of-a-kind activations,” said Changi Airport Group Senior Vice President of Airside Concessions Teo Chew Hoon. “Located next to the iconic Social Tree at Terminal 1, the walk-through Chinese New Year pop-up concept ingeniously combines art and retail to bring novel experiences for our travellers this festive season.”

“At DFS we take pride in curating an ever-growing collection of spirits and experiences to elevate our customers’ journey to uncharted territory,” said DFS Group Senior Vice President for Spirits, Wine, Tobacco, Food & Gifts Brooke Supernaw. “A wide spectrum of creativity and leading innovation ensures a memorable experience for our discerning travellers.”