Reflecting Glenfiddich at London

Reflecting Glenfiddich, A Selection of Works from the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Collection
The Fleming Collection
25 January – 26 February 2011

Alison Watt
A major exhibition of works from the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence programme, which has established a reputation for producing radical contemporary art in the normally traditional surroundings of the Scotch whisky industry, is to be held outside Scotland for the first time. Reflecting Glenfiddich, A Selection of Works from the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Collection will be shown at The Fleming Collection, 13 Berkeley Street, London W1 from 25 January to 26 February 2011.

The exhibition at The Fleming Collection, which has become an embassy for Scottish art in London over the past decade, will highlight works by some of the 70 artists from 26 different countries who have completed residencies at the Glenfiddich distillery in Speyside since the scheme was founded in 2002. Among the leading Scottish contemporary artists whose work will go on display in Reflecting Glenfiddich will be Kenny Hunter, Alison Watt, Alex Frost, Ross Sinclair and Christine Borland. The international character of the scheme will be represented by artists such as Qi Xing from China and Michael Sanzone from the United States.

“We are delighted that the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence programme has chosen The Fleming Collection for its first major exhibition outside Scotland,” says Selina Skipwith, Keeper of Art at The Fleming Collection. “We actively support the development of contemporary art in Scotland.” Andy Fairgrieve, Curator for the Glenfiddich Residency, says: “The Fleming Collection has become an important centre for promoting Scottish cultural life in London so it is the right place to hold this

The Artists in Residence scheme was born after William Grant and Sons, producers of the world-famous Glenfiddich single malt whisky and one of the few remaining familyowned companies in the industry, decided to set up an arts programme. Instead of taking the more traditional approach of building a corporate collection, it was decided to found the residency programme. The scheme allows artists from around the world to live at the distillery in Dufftown, Banffshire for three months producing art inspired by its people, craftsmanship and surroundings. As well as accommodation and studio space, they are provided with a monthly payment, a production budget and travel expenses. The value of the award to each of the eight selected artists nows totals more than £12,000. Each artist leaves at least one newly-created work behind to join the collection.

From the start the scheme set out to be challenging and create a new set of associations that would speak not just about Glenfiddich, but also the image of Scotland in the 21st century. Any thought that the artists might produce conventional work was quickly dispelled in 2002 when the Austrian Michael Keinzer’s Cars – a Rover sitting on top of a Ford Escort bound together with packing tape marked ‘fragile’ – was sited in front of a still house at the Glenfiddich distillery. Although many have come from Scotland, from the outset the scheme was open to invited artists from all over Europe and in 2005 went global. Artists have come to Speyside from as far away as Argentina, Taiwan, Canada and South Korea. The programme has also expanded beyond visual art to include other forms of creative expression and in 2010 John Kenny from Edinburgh became its first musician/composer in residence.