This year, we launched the Ketel One Artist Commission, an exciting new collaboration between our founding sponsor Ketel One Vodka and the artists based here in Sarabande studios. For 2018, artists-in-residence Judas Companion and Tenant Of Culture were selected to travel to Schiedam to visit the iconic Nolet Family Distillery and witness first hand how Ketel One Vodka is created. Following the trip, both artists were commissioned to create a piece of work inspired by the shared ethos between Ketel One and Sarabande (creativity, sustainability, community and craft) which then featured in their individual exhibitions in the Sarabande gallery space.
First to show was German-native Judas Companion with the artists first UK solo show 'A Face In Me'. The exhibit revolved around the concept of metamorphosis; the unsettling yet potentially freeing experience of transforming into someone or something else. The show featured sculpture, photography and moving image.
For the Ketel One Artist Commission, Judas Companion centred her work around the iconic Ketel One jugs, that take inspiration from "Distilleerketel #1", the original copper ketel at the Nolet distillery. The result was a wearable mask made of recycled copper-coloured jugs and a series of photographic self-poraits. In these images, the artists wears said mask with it's tiny doors and compartments ajar, revealing the ingredients and processes used to make Ketel One Vodka - wheat, coal and fire.
Following these photographs, Judas Companion developed the mask further into an embellished helm which sat on a concrete cast of the artists head, a nod to the artists commitment to storytelling through identity. Once the mask was complete, leftover copper-coloured materials were reused throughout the exhibition, cementing the artists dedication to sustainability, a shared value between the artist and Ketel One Vodka. For example, a second mask features 'chains' made from Ketel One jug cuttings, suspending the artwork from the ceiling. These copper-coloured connections illustrate the passing down of the Nolet name, through 11 generations, and over 325 years of Ketel One Vodka. On Judas Companions work for the commission, Katarina Damrée, Acting Head of Culture & Entertainment at Diageo, says "[the] photography is absolutely striking and captivating, we are incredibly lucky to be working with Jasmin who is an obvious visionary talent, and we look forward in promoting her work far and wide.".
Following Companion's show was 'DEADSTOCK', an exhibition by Dutch-native and Sarabande artist-in-residence Tenant Of Culture. At the core of Tenant Of Culture's practice is 'the lifecycle of the garment' and how used or unwanted materials have the potential to find new life within the spectrum of art and fashion. In all of her works, the artist aims to prevent decay, preserving items that might be discarded or seem worthless in order to limit waste. Once preserved, these garments are held in time, each with an individual history - functional and honest products that become elevated through art.
For the Ketel One Artist Commission, Tenant Of Culture applied this concept to a simple yet vital garment used every single day at the Nolet family distillery - the glove. After visiting the distillery earlier this year, the artist acquired a pre-worn glove used by the distillery workers daily to stoke the fires of "Distilleerketel #1". Worn and stained, the gloves were spliced and preserved in a painting before being displayed on a metal frame - a nod to the extraordinary structures found within the distillery. To most, these tired gloves may have seemed ready to be discarded, but to Tenant Of Culture, they presented the opportunity to communicate the craftsmanship and passion it takes to create Ketel One Vodka. "It’s an amazing talent to be able to express a narrative with a repurposed item. Tenant Of Culture is able to really identify the potential for storytelling in the world around her enabling an audience to see ordinary items in a completely different light." says Damrée on Tenant Of Cultures work for the commission.