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Issue 45 - Seeking inspiration from a dram

Whisky Magazine Issue 45
January 2005

 

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Seeking inspiration from a dram

Whisky has long helped provide the inspiration for some artists. Glenfiddich even provides a home for artists each year. Robin Laing looks at the connection.

Over the last three years visitors to Glenfiddich have had the usual distillery tour experience enhanced by being exposed to various art forms.

There is a gallery in the former distilleryshop where they have been able to enjoy, or puzzle over, art works ranging from paintings, photography, figurative sculptures and mixed media to video
sequences, furniture covered in ‘fragile' tape, grass orchestras and other art installations.

The Glenfiddich Artists in Residence scheme, described by Peter Gordon as a “cocktail of malt whisky and visual art creation” was conceived and driven by directors of the family-owned company.
There is an annual budget of around £100,000 which pays for the curator, the fees for eight artists over their three-month residency, a grant of £2000 to each of them for materials and various other costs.

Five refurbished distillery workers' cottages provide the accommodation for the artists (and sometimes their families) and they have fairly open access to the distillery complex (including Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie) and all the production facilities including bottling hall, cooperage, warehousing and workshops.

A range of on-site materials is made available to them and they are able to use the gallery space, indeed they can also show or install their work anywhere round the distillery. When I was there, art was on show in the tun room, in one of the unused cottages and in a peat shed near the visitor centre.

The artists in return, are expe...

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