Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts

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Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts
Springs Eternal: Glenfiddich Artists in Residence - 12 Years from Taiwan
2016-12-23 ~ 2017-02-23
Curator: Andy Fairgrieve

Chen Hui-Chiao, Wu Chi -Tsung, Yao Jui-Chung, Yuan Goang-Ming, Wang Jun-Jieh, Chen Shiau-Peng, Mia Wen-Hsuan Liu, Wu Tung-Lung, Agi Chen, Joyce Ho, Chang Huei-Ming, Lin Kun-Ying


We have all been regaled by the multitudinous sounds water can make. Indeed, its ability to move people, its cleanness, coolness, viscosity, whether bitter cold or scalding hot, means that every mouthful imbibed contains untold possibilities. From the moment we learn to talk as young children, our thirst is quenched from multiple sources and language is replete with water-related alliterations.

All life traces its origins back to water and as a repository for various images it has inspired boundless human reverie and imbued poetry with real world energy. Water is also one of the most important ingredients in the production of whisky. For Celts, it is fundamental and the center of spiritual life, as well as a source of purification, curative remedies and rebirth - particularly spring water. In order to obtain the purest water and produce the best quality whisky possible, William Grant, the founder of Glenfiddich, bought the 1200 acres around the distillery to ensure the Robbie Dhu spring was not polluted. As a result, it remains the only farm in the highlands of Scotland that grows barley and has its own source of water. In addition, the distillery also makes its own oak casks and copper distillers.

In 2005, Chen Hui-Chiao was the first artist from Taiwan to be invited to take part in the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence program. Her time living and creating art in Dufftown, Scotland, marked the beginning of what has been a decade long cultural exchange between the town and Taiwanese artists. Since then, every summer one local artist has been recommended by IT Park Gallery to spend three months in Dufftown. This experience has allowed them to better understand the traditional production of whisky, local environment, history and value of the Glenfiddich brand, elements that have all been transformed into integral parts of art works. Each artist has also in his or her own inimical way established a close relationship with curator Andy Fairgrieve. With the support of fifth generation head of Glenfiddich Peter Gordon, the Glenfiddich distillery in Scotland, IT Park Gallery, and William Grant & Sons (Taiwan) Co. Ltd, Taiwan has become a key player in the Glenfiddich Artist in Residence program.

This year marks the twelfth year Taiwan has participated in the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence program. 12 is also the number of years it takes for Jupiter, an astrological symbol for faith and wisdom, good fortune and growth, to complete one orbital cycle. More significantly, it is also the minimum number of years it takes for whisky to reach peak maturity. Over the past 12 years the Glenfiddich artist’s village has been home to such Taiwanese artists as Chen Hui-Chiao, Wu Chi-Tsung, Yao Jui-Chung, Yuan Goang-Ming, Wang Jun-Jieh, Chen Shiau-Peng, Mia Wen-Hsuan Liu, Wu Tung-Lung, Agi Chen, Joyce Ho, Chang Huei-Ming and recently returned Lin Kun-Ying. These creative talents are now brought together for the first time in an exhibition at Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, titled Springs Eternal: Glenfiddich Artists in Residence - 12 Years from Taiwan. 

The twelfth Taiwanese artist to take up a position at the artist’s village, Lin Kun-Ying, produced many new works in Scotland that measure increments of time. This year, Andy Fairgrieve even took him to Clootie Wells, a place of pilgrimage in Celtic areas where people tie pieces of cloth to the branches of the trees and drink from the spring water, which it is said to have healing powers. This ritual is closely related to the idea of sacrifice or praying and in the hearts and minds of the Celts such springs are sacred places. The inspiration for the name of the Springs Eternal exhibition is also taken from a quote by renowned 18th Century English poet Alexander Pope:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blest:

—Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

Andy Fairgrieve believes such boundless fountainheads grant everlasting strength and our exhibition seeks to showcase this water of life imbued with time and history, together with the creative work and life experience of the 12 Taiwanese artists who spent 90 days at the artist’s village in Dufftown. Each mouthful of whisky is in part made up of water molecules and it is the cyclical journey of water that highlights an altogether different type of artistic creativity.

Organizer: Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts∕Coordinator: IT PARK∕Sponsor: William Grant & Sons