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Flowing of Still Life, Thinking of Retreat: Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Programme - 12 Years from China
Group Exhibition Hall D, West Bund Art Centre, Shanghai
Date: 11.07, 2018 - 11.11, 2018

Artists: MAO Yan 毛焰 |  YUAN Yuan 袁远 |  ZHANG Qing 章清 | 

Duration: 7 November 2018 – 11 November 2018
Address: Hall D, West Bund Art Center, 2555 Longteng Avenue, Shanghai
Opening: 11 am, 7 November 2018

“Still life” is an intangible item that originally comes from painting. It means those static
objects being looked at for a detailed description—both a genre and a motif in painting.
Regarded as an inanimate entity though, it would indeed unlock the secrets of nature.
Started in 2007 and keeping running for 12 years, the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence
Programme invites Chinese artists to stay in Dufftown along Speyside in Scotland for three
months every year. The Conval Hills covering an area of 1,200 acres, the River Fiddich
and the Dullan Water submerging into one, and the vast barley villages all form the
ecology of the place. The 12 artists—DING Jie, JIN Feng, QI Xing, MAO Yan, ZHANG
Qing, YUAN Yuan, ZHANG Yunyao, HU Zi, SU Chang, HU Weiyi, ZHANG Ruyi, GAO Yu—
have perceived the unique aesthetic feeling and poetic quality besides the tranquility of life
when having an eye on these “still life.” Taking a temporary “retreat” from the city and
spending some time in a “retreat” in the countryside, they discover a different reality
concealed by the hustle and bustle. No matter what they create—either painting or
sculpture, photography or video, the 12 Chinese artists use local materials, landscaped
elements and the humanistic environment to develop their practice and make a revisit to
the corporeal reality and psychic reality that they are faced with.
The Chinese artist participating in the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Programme this
year is GAO Yu, who emerged as the most vocal one among the “Cartoon Generation” in
the country. In his long-term practice of painting, GAO creates a sophisticated composition
of cartoon characters and realistic figures and incorporates them into a compound display,
rendered with clever humour and wit. The body of work provides the most detailed genetic
portrait of today’s social pattern and breaks the fixed routine of our growing-up and the
paradox of stereotyped identities embedded in the collective memory. The perceived
“counter-cultural” experience of being away from his homestead, GAO looks to the natural
atmosphere of Glenfiddich Distillery for new inspiration. He chooses to vegetables, fruits,
flowers, and other mundane objects. Completed with delicate and exquisite senses, the
forms of still life given by the artist resort to textual production, thus enlarging the scope of
the literary discourse for the flat images. Nevertheless, like many other participating artists,
GAO grasps the essence of the semantic meaning of Glenfiddich—Valley of the Deer and
applies his stylised icon to portray the stags that appear from time to time, which embodies
the innovative route of Glenfiddich and its pioneering spirit of perseverance and
progression. He also delineates animals including squirrels, ducks, etc., empowering the
narrative with a well-defined vein in the series.
Looking back at the path of the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Programme from Chine
throughout the 12 years, we can find that the opposite unity between the keen insight and
artistic approach into practice appropriately demonstrates the perfect combination of the
smooth taste and the sharp texture of Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The
exhibition entitled “Flowing of Still Life, Thinking of Retreat” is not only an interpretation of such value but also illustrates the very basis of how the programme has developed into
powerful action. Every artist who came to the Glenfiddich Distillery has to work with local
artisans owning excellent craftsmanship and rich experience, learning from coopers who
make oak barrels, copper sculptors who build unique copper stills, and malt masters for
their persistence of “do one thing, and do it well,” which is precisely the artisan spirit of
pure brewing. The quite and still time translates into the life of creation. 12 Chinese artists
have gained their maturity during their stay with the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence
Programme, now contributing their thoughts from the opportunity.


Works Exhibited :


ZHANG QING 章清
2016
Edition of 1
code: ZQ_0369

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