MEXICAN HEAT ...

21 September 2015

With just over a week to go before the final opening for the year things are heating up for Arturo in the most literal sense. Having initially experimented with ‘smoking’ canvases in the Balvenie kiln Arturo turned his attention to Convalmore distillery situated close to his house on the Glenfiddich site. Established in 1894 the Convalmore - Glenlivet Distillery had a chequered history, changing hands twice in the first twelve years of its existence it suffered a disastrous fire in 1909. Once rebuilt it became fitted with an experimental use of column stills for the continuous distilling of malt spirit. However this never really proved to be successful and was abandoned within five years. Closed completely in 1985 it was decommissioned and all the distilling equipment cut up and removed for scrap before being bought by William Grants and Sons for its warehousing capacity in 1990.

This combination of experimentation, disaster and subsequent abandonment was a great attraction to Arturo and almost seemed tailor made for his artistic concerns providing a source of inspiration for his two major residency projects. The first of these was an intervention entitled ‘Inverted Horizons’ which explored notions of human transformation of the landscape against natural forces of erosion and topological alterations was created through the use of a pressure washer to remove the patina of time from the surface of the distillery infrastructure.

The use of water in this work was counterpointed by another elemental force in the second: fire. 'Accident (fire tongue / mother language)' took as its departure point the distilleries history and was facilitated through the expert assistance of Eden Jolly foundry technician at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop who brought his portable furnace over for the day. The project comprised of a number of un moulded pours of molten copper resulting in a highly organic casting. It’s undisciplined form suggesting the notion that an accidental rather than deliberate act had caused its creation.