Visual Arts Programme

Embracing ambition

A powerhouse of creative activity, we host a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year to pique your curiosity. This wouldn’t be possible without the welcoming, nurturing environment we create for artists. Mount Stuart has always been a place of innovation. A place where people have asked ‘What if?’ We encourage all the artists we work with to do the same.

2023 Programme

We are delighted to share what's to come for our Contemporary Visual Arts Programme in 2023!

Sekai Machache: Svikiro

2 September - 29 October

Autumn at Mount Stuart will see Sekai Machache develop a project entitled Svikiro, comprising a several short films as the opening chapter of a future series of works. Through performance to camera, still and moving image, she will explore experimental and innovative storytelling using academic, visual and embodied research at Mount Stuart and in its collections and archives. The resulting films will suggest alternative readings of the past and present a model for a decolonised future archive built on collaboration.

To find out more about Sekai's project you can read our press release here.

Glimpses of the films can be seen during regular tours. For more information on how to view the full films or to book a viewing tour go here.

Monster Chetwynd: Moths

10 June - 20 August

Monster Chetwynd is known for tackling urgent global issues through a celebratory approach with exuberant and fun performative pieces. Featuring handmade costumes, props and sets, Chetwynd creates joyful outfits and mise-en-scène that often cross the boundaries onto gallery walls.

During her residency at Mount Stuart, Monster has been working with local school children on a performance based project that focuses on moths: a species she continues to champion and highlight in her work as well as being one which is redolent with art historical allegory. A film work, featuring local moth experts and children, and shot by artists including Margaret Salmon, will be available to view in the crypt throughout the exhibition dates.

Inside the house, Monster continues the dialogue between her work and the neo-gothic fantasy of Mount Stuart's interiors with sculptural works and works on paper displayed in conversation with the decorative ceiling, mural and panels of the Family Bedroom.

Inherent to Monster's practice is an aesthetic of recycling materials and as part of Moths she has re-purposed an existing work, Folding House (2011) into a Moth Hub. The Moth Hub will give focus to Mount Stuart’s ongoing relationship with volunteers at Bute Museum & Natural History Society, who use the grounds for regular moth counts, contributing information to the National Moth Recording Scheme.

During the opening weekend of Moths on 10 June 2023 Monster presented a performance piece in the grounds of Mount Stuart. Performers employed live music and movement centred on the Folding House to capture the romantic and otherworldly atmosphere of the wider exhibition. Moth experts Ron Forrester and Bill Stein gave an informal lecture on moths and their significance in understanding the health of our countryside.

Abbas Akhavan: study for a garden

Abbas Akhavan's exhibition, study for a garden, ran 30 April - 9 October 2022 with installations in the Crypt and across our garden and grounds. Akhavan's first exhibition in Scotland his practice of on-site research saw him spending time on Bute throughout the first months of 2022.

Through his work Abbas addresses social, economic and political concerns through the lens of ecology, animal and plant life. The site specific works use natural and ancient materials from the island, interrogating the history of Mount Stuart and its landscape.

To find out more about this exhibition read our press release here.

Following the end of the exhibition, the work you used to call it blue sometimes, a dichroic film installed on the windows of the Kitchen Garden Pavilion and a 21 minute sound work, will remain on view at Mount Stuart.

Martin Boyce: An Inn For Phantoms Of The Outside And In

In 2019 we welcomed Martin Boyce to Mount Stuart to create a work inspired by the memory of a tennis court long since dismantled. His installation An Inn For Phantoms Of The Outside And In remains on view in our grounds.

Find out more about Martin's exhibition in our Press Release here.

Martin joined Sophie Crichton Stuart, Director of our Visual Arts Programme, in conversation to discuss his work at Mount Stuart. You can read a transcript of their discussion here.

You can purchase the book accompanying the exhibition here.

Our Visual Arts Programme

We have been working with established artists for 18 years, and earned ourselves an international reputation. We now also work with artists in the early stages of their careers, helping them to find their feet and grow their artistic skills. The result is a diverse range of inspiring exhibitions.

Created in 2001, the Mount Stuart Contemporary Visual Arts Programme presents work by significant Scottish and international artists. The programme invites contemporary artists to bring new perspectives to the extraordinary Neo-Gothic mansion, its collections and location. Complementing each exhibition is a programme of events, publications and educational activities.

Commissioned artists have included; Kate Whiteford, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Christine Borland, Langlands & Bell, Anya Gallaccio, Nathan Coley, Lee Mingwei, Lucy Skaer, Kate Davis, Lorna Macintyre, Steven Claydon and Whitney McVeigh.

We extend our reach beyond Bute through relationships with writers and organisations including; The Common Guild, The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, GENERATION and The Modern Institute.

Through commissioning artists Mount Stuart Trust aims to add value and vibrancy to the historical context of Mount Stuart and reinvigorate dialogue and enquiry.

Nathan Coley, Camouflage Mosque, 2006

Steven Claydon, A Gathering of Vessels (Introduced Species), 2017

Whitney McVeigh, Way of Life, 2019

Visual Arts Archive

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What's On

Svikiro: Exhibition Viewing Tours

3.30pm 6th September 2023, 3.30pm 13th September 2023, 11.30am 16th September 2023, 3.30pm 20th September 2023, 3.30pm 27th September 2023,