9 November 2015



As the dark winter nights fast approach and envelop Glenfiddich for the next few months the focus of the artists in residence programme switches to more temperate climes with some of the years residents share their summer’s experiences with audiences back in their home countries. First of these special returning exhibitions opened on Saturday 7th November in the space of our Shanghai based selection partner, Don Gallery, showcasing the works of Su Chang. In fact there were two opportunities to see works by Su over the course of the weekend, with Don Gallery being the venue for new works created since returning for Scotland. These still carry some echo of the artist’s time at Glenfiddich but it was at a special exhibition held at Jewelvary, a specialist art boutique space not far from the Don, where pieces made at Glenfiddich were on show.

With Su busy making the last minute perpetrations to his works I was greeted at the airport by Xixing Chen, the director of Don Gallery along with another old friend, 2013 resident Yunyao  who  acted as a careful and considerate tour guide throughout my stay.

The exhibition opened its doors on Saturday afternoon to select group of specially invited writers and media , who assembled at the Don gallery before being bussed the short distance across town to the second show at Jewelvary. Here the carefully thought out arrangements of natural objects brought together by Su’s creative vision greeted me like old friends. The economy of material – feathers stones, wood - brought together by Su provided a pleasing aesthetic of form and simplicity which carried on uninterrupted in the newer works at the Don. It was within these works that the artist had included a new material for the first time. A slab of black tarmac brought back memories of the texture present in the pine cone assemblage he had made while at Glenfiddich and as such showed the same directional current as developed during his residency.  The simple act of taking an axe used in Scotland to mark a thick curved sheet of aluminium brought back memories of rain on a window pane. This same axe was used to chop into the very fabric of the gallery walls to create a number of toothy grins which brought to mind the Cheshire Cat who greeted Alice in Lewis Carroll’s celebrated novel before disappearing in to thin air leaving behind only his lingering smile.

As customary, a large dinner was held after the opening and as always provided a great opportunity to catch up with some of our former shanghai based artists in residence. As well as Yunyao and 2014 resident Hu Zi the company was enriched with the presence of Jin Feng (2008) and Zhang Qing (2011). Yet sadly missed due to other commitments were Yuan Yuan (2102) and Mao Yan (2010) but many a glass of Glenfiddich was raised in a toast to these absent friends.