Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery in Istria recently announced the opening of its inaugural sculpture garden featuring a series of large-scale sculptures by acclaimed Belgian artist Arne Quinze. The sculpture series ‘Lupines’ created by Quinze was inspired by the typical flower of Southern Istria, which symbolizes imagination and the cycle of life.
Thoughtfully curated by Berlin-based art consultant Reiner Opoku to lead visitors through the stunning vineyards and olive groves of the Meneghetti’s stunning Mediterranean landscape, ‘Lupines’ succeeds in fusing contemporary art with nature, with the sculptures positioned around the 120,000 square meter Meneghetti estate.
Meneghetti, a Relais & Chateaux property, combines Istrian architecture, an appreciation of the environment and production of award-winning wine and olive oil, with home-grown produce and an art collection featuring Croatian artists including art created by alumni of the esteemed art school in Zagreb. Meneghetti CEO Miroslav Plišo recently introduced international contemporary art to the cultural programme, working with curator Reiner Opoku to instal the Arne Quinze sculpture garden.
Arne Quinze is a Belgian contemporary artist whose practice includes drawing, painting and sculpture through to large-scale installations created for public spaces around the world. Quinze aims to generate interaction and dialogue with the public through his outdoor sculpture and is constantly striving to restore the balance between culture and nature and to encourage a reconnection with the natural world. Quinze will be exhibiting new sculpture in the 3rd edition of ‘Forever is now’, an exhibition by Art d’Egypte in front of the pyramids of Giza in October 2023, and he is working on exhibitions for the Ludwig Foundation and the 2024 Venice Biennale Arte.
He has spent a decade creating a wildflower garden in his Belgian studio, and his love of botany and the environment provides constant inspiration for his art. As the planet heats up and we experience the devastating effects of global warming, we are dealing with the consequences of many years of neglecting and abusing the natural world. Quinze has long been advocating more respect for nature through his art and the establishment of his extensive wildflower garden, which he reflects in his art. Quinze’s eco-friendly philosophy is a good match for the Meneghetti, where CEO Miroslav Plišo has respected and nurtured the natural Istrian landscape since discovering the abandoned farm buildings and overgrown land over two decades ago, and spending years planting olive groves and vines, and creating a beautiful estate rooted in nature and culture.
Reiner Opoku is a Berlin-based art consultant and international art mediator. Since the early 1980s, he has curated numerous international art exhibitions and represented a wide range of renowned contemporary artists. Opoku was founding director of the St. Moritz Art Masters in Switzerland and is co-founder of the NYC-based environmental organization “Parley for the Oceans”, and a partner and executive producer of virtual reality production company “Mirror+Sparks” in Munich and NYC.
Lee Sharrock spoke to Arne Quinze about the ‘Lupines’ sculpture garden:
Lee Sharrock: How did you approach the Meneghetti commission to create a sculpture garden? Did you make new sculptures that respond to the surrounding landscape?
Arne Quinze: I selected important prototypes from my own collection in the face of creating an interesting dialogue between the environment of the Meneghetti Estate and my artwork. I wanted to create a striking contrast between the monochromatic palette of the sculptures and the vibrant greens and earthy tones of the surrounding vineyards. Yet, paradoxically, my sculptures also harmonize with the natural landscape, as if nature herself had summoned the sculptures into existence. I want to evoke a sense of wonder and introspection. We, humans, act like aliens in this world, living increasingly disconnected from nature. I hope to encourage visitors to pause and reflect by showing them the immense beauty that exists in nature.
LS: How long did it take to make the sculptures, and what was the process – did you sculpt them in your studio in Belgium and then transport them to Meneghetti?
AQ: Over the past 30 years, I have been optimizing the technique of how I create my sculptures, yet it remains an ongoing process which requires a lot of time. By continuously studying the diverse biodiversity and architecture of nature throughout the seasons, I am able to create artwork that captures the strength in the fragility of the natural world. With my excavator, I crush and sculpt aluminium cones until I obtain the desired shape. All my creations are done in-house in my atelier in Belgium and are then transported to their destination.
LS: You have a vast wildflower garden at your studio in Belgium, and the sculptures at Meneghetti are inspired by Lupine flowers. Why did you choose the Lupine flower as the starting point for the Meneghetti sculptures?
AQ: The Lupine flower symbolizes an ally in my quest to reintegrate nature and diversity into our society. I often came across the lupine flower during my many travels, and I witnessed how the flower stopped growing where monocropping began. For me, it is now an emblem of hope and resilience, signifying the possibility of revitalizing and embracing diversity. An estate like Meneghetti conveys this message perfectly.
LS: What exhibitions do you have coming up?
AQ: At the end of October, I will be taking part in the third edition of ‘Forever is now’, an exhibition by Art d’Egypte in front of the pyramids of Giza. I am currently in the process of creating the sculpture I will present there, and I am very much looking forward to the results. Besides that, I am working on an exhibition for the Ludwig Foundation and an exhibition for the upcoming Venice Biennale. However, I cannot reveal much about those yet.
Arne Quinze ‘Lupines’ is at the Meneghetti Hotel & Winery in Istria until October 2024: meneghetti.hr/en/art