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Something new: artistically licensed

We’ve seen how food can be turned into art, with New Zealand artist Maurice Bennett’s recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa – which hangs in the K11 mall in Tsim Sha Tsui – made entirely from toast, for example. Now, Italy’s Elisabetta Rogai is going to show us what can be done with wine.

 The experimental artist began painting with wine “when I saw what happened to the tablecloth [when wine spilled on it]”. Having found a laboratory to make wine reductions to use as paint, she was amazed by the range of colours it could produce.

“I discovered that each variety has a different concentration of colour, depen-ding on what is present in the grapes,” Rogai says. “Each wine, as it ages, has its own colour. Conventional paintings don’t change over time, but wine-made ones ‘age’ – think Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. They reproduce on canvas the same process that takes place inside bottles; they evolve from typically juvenile colours (purples and shiny reds) to more mature tones (orange, amber and brown), but over months rather than years.”

The approach has attracted oenophiles as well as art lovers: winemakers, Rogai says, “bring their wine to me and ask me to do a wine-portrait of their wife”.

She adds: “My favourite subjects are women … I believe in the deep relationship between women and wine as two aspects of a single celebration of life and pleasure.”

Rogai will show 16 paintings at her “Vision Tasting” exhibition, to be held in selected restaurants and the atrium of the Empire Centre (68 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui) and the Tsim Sha Tsui Centre (66 Mody Road) from Thursday until January 6. For inquiries, call 2721 5489.