Richard Ashrowan


Dr Richard Ashrowan (b.1966) is a moving image artist and film curator. He has been Creative Director of Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Scotland since 2010 and is curator for Scotland + Venice at the Venice Art Biennale 2017. He works with video and 16mm film, creating short single channel films, immersive video installations and live multi-projector performance experiments. His works are exhibited at artist-led spaces, galleries and film festivals around the world. He was awarded a PhD in 2016 (Edinburgh College of Art / Edinburgh University) for his practice-based research on ‘Alchemical Catoptrics of the Moving Image’.

Artist Statement

Light and luminosity are at the heart of my work. I am also interested in alchemy, referring to its language and processes of transformation, as a mirror for my own methods. My research has included an exploration of the use of light by alchemists from the 12th to the 18th centuries, examining their experimental methodology (alchemical catoptrics), their diagrammatical structures and early pre-scientific philosophies of light. These historical antecedents often inform the content and structuring principals of my films, which are substantively concerned with notions of transformation. Landscape and place, coupled with a personal sense of deep presence, often form the starting point for my visual material.

Exhibitions & Screenings

Five Angels
Directors Lounge, Berlin
27-29 October, 2017
Summerhall, Edinburgh
2 August – 24 September, 2017
Five Angels
San Diego Underground Film Festival, USA
25 August, 2017
Cubiculum Umbrae
Disasters of Peace (curated by Kamilla Kuc & Sam Jury)
Northwest Film Forum, Seattle
28 May, 2017
Cubiculum Umbrae
Disasters of Peace (curated by Kamilla Kuc & Sam Jury)
The Horse Hospital, London
20 May, 2017
Five Angels
Dokufest, Kosovo
8 & 12 May, 2017
A Landscape Symphony in 22 Movements
Platform Festival, Perthshire
25 March, 2017
Five Angels
Experiments in Cinema, Albuquerque, USA
18-23 April, 2017
4th International Festival of Experimental Video, Valparaiso, Chile
11-16 April, 2017
NOFEST, at Unza! Milan, Italy
8 April, 2017
Five Angels
Glasgow Short Film Festival
15-19 March, 2017
Traverse Vidéo, Toulouse, France
12 March, 2017
Mutus Floris
VIDEO: To Flowers, ANDOR Gallery, London
17 February, 2017
Five Angels
Unfix Festival: Rebirth, Glasgow
18 December, 2016
Five Angels
Transgression, at Close-Up Film Centre, London
10 December, 2016
Of The Excellency Of Wheate
Glasgow Short Film Festival
16-20 March, 2016
Mutus Floris
Iside and the Wunderkammer of Fertility, Palazzo Vernazza, Lecce, Italy
Curated by Dores Sacquegna
2-9 March, 2016
Solo retrospective
Full Frame Theatre, Durham, NC, USA Center For Documentary Studies / Duke MFA
Alchemist, Diagram, Mutus Floris, Cubiculum Umbrae, Speculum, Of The Excellency of Wheat
27 January 2016
Of The Excellency Of Wheate
Edinburgh Artists’ Moving Image Festival
12 December, 2015
Antimatter [media art] Festival, Victoria, BC, Canada
16 – 31 October , 2015
Sphinx Thebes Festival, Greece
October 2015
Cubiculum Umbrae, Diagram
Motion Creatures, Edinburgh
24 August 2015
Altered States at Coastal Current Arts Festival, Hastings
29 & 30 August 2015
Cubiculum Umbrae
USURP Zone 5 Film Festival, London
14 August 2015
SHORTini Film Festival, Sicily
1 August 2015
Solo retrospective – Post Lux Materia
Swedenborg Film Festival, London
Alchemist, Diagram, Mutus Floris, Speculum, Of The Excellency of Wheat
8 July 2015
Tower Mill, Heart of Hawick
24 June 2015
Chicago Underground Film Festival
13 – 17 May 2015
Videoformes, Clermont Ferrand, France
19 – 21 March 2015
Papay Gyro Nights, Hong Kong
6 – 20 March 2015
Papay Gyro Nights, Papa Westray, Orkney, Scotland
3 – 10 February 2015

Alchemist (installation)
Venice Performance Art Week, Italy
13 – 20 December 2014
RISC Rencontres Internationales – Science & Cinema 2014, Marseille, France
29 November 2014
The Journal of Short Film, Vol 33 – peer reviewed DVD, Ohio State University
Released November 2014
Strangloscope III – Cinema as Witchcraft 2014, Florianópolis, Brazil
31 October 2014
Twelve Frames Left
Highlight Arts, Edinburgh
2 October 2014
Twelve Frames Left
Videoholica 2014, Bulgaria (award finalist)
August 2014
The Picture Show, New York, USA
June 27 & 28th 2014
Montreal Underground Film Festival
24th May 2014
Mutus Floris
Threshold Artpsace, Perth
May 2014
Iowa City Documentary Film Festival
Winner ‘Best Cinematography’ Award
17th – 19th April 2014

Catoptrica – Live video performance
Edinburgh International Festival
28 August 2013
Mutus Floris
YES Festival, Selkirk
September 2013
The Fixed and the Volatile
Speculum, Cubiculum Umbrae, Diagram, Catoptrica film performance and other new works
Verksmiðjan, Hjalteyri, Iceland
August 2013
The Rainbow
Filmpoem Festival, Dunbar
August 2013
The Rainbow – forest walk installation and screenings
Koli Natural Park, Finland
May-Aug 2013
Mutus Floris
Threshold Artpsace, Perth
May 2013
Sensory alchemy – a laboratory of failure
1, Crichton Street, Edinburgh
Dec 7th – 9th 2011
Diagram: Utopia
The Horsebox Gallery
Touring (group) show, various places, Scotland
Sept – Nov 2011
Hear: See: There
(A/V performance collaboration with James Wyness)
Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival
Hawick, Scottish Borders
Oct 24th 2011
Seven Seals
East Haddam, Connecticut, USA
16 Oct 2011
Mutus Floris
Bump Gallery
Galashiels, Scottish Borders
26th – 27th August 2011
Supernature – a collection of films
Supernormal Festival
Braziers Park, Oxfordshire
19th – 21st August 2011
Fingal’s Cave
An Tobar
Isle of Mull
2nd July to 30th July 2011

Liverpool John Moores University
Film Philosophy
6th July to 8th July 2011

Mutus Floris
Montreal Underground Film Festival
May 14th 2011
Mutus Floris
The Generator Shed
Scottish Borders
May 7th to May 15th 2011
Invite and directions
‘Going Outward’
Curator, Exhibitor
Geopoetics Festival
Brantwood, England
March 2011
Reflections, Inversions, Symmetries
Royal Scottish Academy
Edinburgh, Scotland
February/March 2011
New Moves International
International Festival of Live Art (single channel screening)
February 2011

Alchemist and Lament
Alchemy Film and Media Arts Festival
Curated by Richard Ashrowan
September 2010

Glasgow International
The Jacobean Building, 49 Virginia Street (first floor), Glasgow. G1 1TS
April/May 2010

Lament & Fingal’s Cave
Atlantic Islands Festival, Isle of Luing
Scottish Centre for Geopoetics
July 2009

Fingal’s Cave
Mendelssohn Festival
An Tobar, Tobermory, Isle of Mull
June 2009

Lament (group show)
SSA annual exhibition
Vision Building, Dundee
May/June 2009

Lament (solo show)
Forest Gallery, Selkirk
April 2009

Borderline/Lament (solo show)
Casa Artelor, Timisoara, Romania
Curated by Ileana Pintilie
March 2009


Fingal’s Cave (solo show)
Foksal Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
Curated by Jaromir Jedlenski
June/July 2008


*Poprzez Portret
Fabrycka Sztuki, Lodz, Poland
Curated by Krystoff Noworyta
December 2007

Contact Rushes
The National Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu, Romania
Curated by Ileana Pintillie
(part of a Demarco Archive exhibition)
November 2007

*Contact Rushes
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Curated by Richard Demarco
August 2007

*Evanescence – Ice/Thaw Norway
Demarco European Art Foundation, Edinburgh/Glasgow
April 2007


*A Landscape Symphony in 22 Movements
Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge
October 2006


*A Landscape Symphony in 22 Movements
Threshold Artspace, Perth Concert Hall, Perth
Curated by Iliyana Nedkova
October 2005

The Guru
Threshold Artspace, Perth Concert Hall, Perth
Curated by Iliyana Nedkova
October 2005


The Windmills of Innerleithen
Novi Sad, Serbia
Drift touring programme
The Windmills of Innerleithen
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Stills Gallery
Drift touring programme

The Windmills of Innerleithen
Innerliethen, Scottish Borders
Curated by Iliyana Nedkova
June 2003

Ledingham Chalmers, Edinburgh
January 2003


Duke University – Visiting Artist (2016)
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Durham, North Carolina, USA

Cafe Tissardmine (2014)

The Arctic Circle (2012)
Svalbard, High Arctic

Kolin Ryyanänen (2012)
Koli Natural Park, Finland

I-Park (2011)
Artist Residency Centre
East Haddam, Connecticut, USA

Brantwood (2007)
Former home of John Ruskin / Brantwood Trust
Coniston, Lake District, England

Threshold Artspace (2005)
Perth Concert Hall, Perth
Lead Artist

Public Collections

Threshold Artspace
Perth Concert Hall, Perth

Anglia Ruskin University

Corporate Collections

Ledingham Chalmers

Nowhere Arts
Artists monograph 2009

Timisoara, Romania
Group catalogue/ conference paper 2009
In Romanian and English

Fingal’s Cave / Blue Flora Celtica
Foksal Gallery, Poland
Joint exhibition catalogue 2008

*Contact Rushes / Poprzez Portret
Fabryka Sztuki / Narodowe Centrum Kultury
Exhibition catalogue 2007
*A Landscape Symphony in 22 Movements
Threshold Artspace
Exhibition catalogue 2005

Threshold Artspace
Project catalogue 2005

The Windmills of Innerleithen
Exhibition catalogue 2005

Ledingham Chalmers
Exhibition catalogue 2003

* Note to the above:

Works marked by an asterisk were produced during a period of joint practice with Alexander Hamilton, under the name ‘Hamilton & Ashrowan’.