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The unusual pairing of art with wine aims to challenge perceptions. It tells a new story about two different forms of art. Christine Lundy presents her first pairing for Ama Culture: The work of Angus Taylor paired with Reyneke Biodynamic wines.

ANGUSandREYNEKEFINALLOGOGegrond I (detail), 2011, rammed earth and stone. Exhibited during the ‘Dislodge/Loswikkel’ exhibition at the UJ Art Gallery. Photograph: Robert Hodgkiss.Reyneke wine images courtesy of Reyneke.
When I developed the concept of ‘Art and Wine Pairing’ a few years ago, it was initially an attempt to demonstrate that premium South African wines can be considered ‘works of art’ in their own right. Wine making requires vision and expertise, but above all, creativity to turn grapes into beautiful wines. However, the technical story can become overwhelming, especially for ‘non wine-nerds,’ which is why I used the power of analogy to tell a new story. Building on the concept, I have realized that the pairing of the two not only stimulates the senses but also enables a deeper understanding.
One of the best illustrations of this concept is the work of Angus Taylor paired with Johan Reyneke of Reyneke Biodynamic wines.
In her opening address for the exhibition of Angus Taylor and Rina Stutzer’s entitled ‘Dislodge’ (Loswikkel) at The University of Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2011, Dr Stella Viljoen says ‘This is the profound task and responsibility of the artist, to draw the viewer into the clouds while keeping their feet on the ground.’ This comment illustrates perfectly the work created by both Angus Taylor and Johan Reyneke.
I decided to pair Reyneke Organic wines with Angus Taylor’s work when I came across Gegrond, a human sculpture made from rammed earth and stone. Gegrond is such an ambitious use of raw material, a celebration of earth and stone key also to wine making. As the saying goes, “wine is made in the vineyard.” This celebration perfectly represents Reyneke wines, as the pioneer in Biodynamic wine (and the so far the only certified one) Johan Reyneke has a special connection and respect for nature.
Layers of being, 2013, rammed earth and stone. 2.7 x 3.1 x 0.7 m. Exhibited at the 2013 Nirox Winter Sculpture Fair.
Photograph: Rina Stutzer. Homage to Hermes, 2008, stacked Marino slate stone. 120 x 500 x 850cm. Built in the Karoo. Photograph: Ivan Volschenk.Belated wake III, 2010, Thatch, thatch twine, steel wire, steel frame.150 x 210 x 160. Exhibited at Circa on Jellicoe during the exhibition ‘New Work.’ Photograph: Robert Hodgkiss.
The pairing or ‘analogy’ could stop there however like Angus’s monumental sculptures there are plenty more layers. The first is Angus’s fascination with aspects of Quantum Theory, including the necessary relationship between the part and the whole, and that the part is as significant as the whole, which could also be applied to Johan. As a graduate in Philosophy, Johan Reyneke is no regular farmer, like Angus Taylor he is constantly experimenting. In his case, the experiments are with farming and wine techniques as well as management to increase quality and create a more sustainable product.
All images courtesy of Reyneke.  
Multi award- winning Reyneke wines count amongst the top 20 South African wines but Johan doesn’t stop there. Both Angus and Johan are part of a generation wanting to make a difference in South Africa. Through his art, Angus wants to “remove the sense of elitism.” Johan works towards empowering the “cornerstone” of his business (also the name of one of his wine range); the people and workers who enable his vision, by building houses and providing education for them. Angus, in his choice of medium and subjects, portrays the “co-existence of opposite in life, nothing is stable, all is constantly changing.” The same concept applies to Reyneke.
Angus Taylor is familiar with this association to wine as a number of his creations are already exhibited at Saronsberg Wine Cellar in Tulbagh. He is also one of the key creators behind Ellerman House’s ‘Wine Gallery.’
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Ama CultureArt South Africa‘s weekly lifestyle column by Christine Lundy.

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