For some designers, a swig of their favourite tipple is vital to getting their creative juices flowing. Now Absolut, the Swedish vodka maker, is demonstrating that there can be an even more tangible link between alcohol and art.
The company has just launched Absolut Blank, a campaign that has seen them commissioning works from 18 leading artists and artistic collaborations around the world. What all the contributions have in common is that they are all shaped like an Absolut bottle.
“Absolut has boldly made its iconic bottle into a blank canvas to inspire artists,” said Mark Hamilton, the company’s global marketing director. “We want to contribute to a global creative movement.”
The company has tried to select artists from as many disciplines as possible, including sculpting, film-making and graphic design. Among the contributors are the Glasgow-based Good Wives and Warriors -- aka Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell -- who worked on a six-metre bottle-shaped canvas in Lisbon (below).
“The elaborate paintings of Good Wives and Warriors really blew us away,” says Mark. “There is a purity to their work and their collaborative process that we wanted to feature.”
Also commissioned were the London design studio United Visual Artists. “We were really interested in seeing what they would do,” says Mark. “Their pieces utilise technology in unique and engaging ways, and their body of work is largely interactive.”
In the event, UVA created an installation of illuminated columns that viewers could wander around and through (below), forming an area shaped like… a bottle. “We loved the idea of UVA doing a large-scale installation with that kind of interactivity,” says Mark.
Absolut Blank, which also features work from the likes of Brazilian illustrator Eduardo Recife, the Minneapolis studio Aesthetic Apparatus and Texan artist Zac Freeman – who used found objects to assemble a bottle – is not the vodka company’s first foray into art. In the 1980s the firm managed to commission Andy Warhol to paint one of their bottles. Though the result was less iconic than Warhol’s Campbell’s soup can, the company has gone on to collaborate with the likes of Damien Hirst and Douglas Gordon.
Bottle designed by Mario Wagner
The Absolut Blank works are already being promoted in the UK through TV advertising and Facebook. “Experiential events” linked to the campaign will be launched in the coming months. Below is a video created by Absolut to showcase the creative process behind the campaign.