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Champagne House Celebrates Decade of Art With Retrospective

British artist Stephen Wilks pictured with his donkey roundabout
© AFP/Francois Nascimbeni | British artist Stephen Wilks pictured with his donkey roundabout
The 2012 edition of Champagne's most popular contemporary art exhibition is being launched.

Champagne house Vranken-Pommery will throw open its gates today to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its contemporary art exhibition, Expérience Pommery.

Curated by the Pompidou Center’s Bernard Blistène, the 2012 exhibition will form a retrospective of a decade of Expérience Pommery, showcasing 30 works displayed in previous years.

The artworks will be displayed around the Pommery property and the company’s recently restored château, Villa Demoiselle.  

It will be the first time the century-old villa is included in Expérience Pommery, having been rescued from decay by Paul-Francois and Nathalie Vranken in 2004. The Art Deco property will house striking works including FatBat – Virginia Barré’s obese version of super-hero Batman, first created for the exhibition in 2005 – and Donkey Roundabout, an unusual take on the carousel by English artist Stephen Wilks.

In the estate’s cellars, well-known French artist Stéphane Thidet has reconstructed his work "Refuge" – a simple wooden hut with torrential rain pouring down – while Daniel Firman's elephant  art work "Würsa" defies gravity by balancing on the end of its  trunk.

In addition to the retrospective displays, 10 international artists will exhibit their work in the underground cellars, including Israel's Haim Steinbach and Germany's Lothar Hempel.

Introduced by Nathalie Vranken in 2003, "Expérience Pommery" has welcomed more than 120,000 visitors to date.

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