Matthew Dalziel

+44 (0)1382 385849
Senior Lecturer


Matthew Dalziel is co-director of the fine art studio Dalziel + Scullion. They use sculpture, photography, video and sound, to make artworks that distil and interpret Nature.

They collaborate with conservation bodies, landowners, developers, botanists, ecologists, curators, museums and composers amongst others. They strive to understand the context and the place their artworks will exist in, investigating ways that art can focus attention on and amplify particular aspects of the ecology of a place; its authentic features and unique character. ‘Our artworks become conduits between people and nature, helping audiences experience our shared environment from alternative perspectives, re-establishing our connection with the natural world and the non-human species we live alongside.’ 

Louise Scullion (Dalziel + Scullion) have been selected for important national and international exhibitions including the British Art Show and the Venice Biennale and have been awarded numerous awards and prizes including the Saltire Society Award for Art in Architecture, the Saltire Society Award for Art in Public Places, the Eco Prize for Creativity and were short-listed for the international Artes Mundi Prize. They are frequently invited to speak at conferences and symposiums on the subject of art and ecology including: Tipping Point, Berlin; the Scottish Governments Arts and Environment Scotland, Climate Change, Gauging the Temperature at The University of Wales, Fieldworks at Tate Modern and Art and Nature at Tate Britain. 

Research Projects

Nomadic Boulders | 2015

This work materialised an unseen natural occurrence for those who visit Britain’s most northerly settlement, John O Groats. This remote settlement is surrounded by the Pentland Firth, where some of the fastest sea currents in the world have been recorded and in which a number of large rolling boulders are known to traverse back and forward on the seabed. After a fierce storm in 2008 some of these boulders were released by the sea’s grip onto the coastline of Caithness, three of them are now presented on a series of arching beams or ribs that reanimated the boulders’ past as a paean to their nomadic history. The ribs recall both the thrusting energy at work in the waters of the Firth, but also the mighty bodies of whales and maritime vessels that have navigated these treacherous waters for centuries. The ribs are sections from a 10m diam. circle, the tallest being 5.5 meters (not an uncommon height of wave during storms and high winds).

Commissioned and funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise with additional funding from Creative Scotland Lottery Fund. Winner of The Saltire Award for Art in Public Spaces in 2016.


Rain (Thuwal) | 2015

This is the second D+S pavilion dedicated to the phenomenon of rain.  It was commissioned as a permanent feature for the new campus of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), at Thuwal, a dessert location in Saudi Arabia.  RAIN takes the form of a small building in the universal shape of a water vessel and that of a round house (known in Scotland as a Keep). The structure is clad in thousands of tiny green ceramic tiles the colour of sphagnum moss, the most water absorbent plant on earth. Inside the coolness of the artwork, a vast collection of different rain sounds can be heard, these were recorded in Scotland over a year, here there is an abundance of rain that takes many forms from fine mist to heavy thunderstorms. The building creates a shadowed space that circulates air and is 15º cooler than it’s outdoor surroundings. The work relates to landscape and climate in two very different countries, one where it rains somewhere everyday of the year; and another where there is virtually no rain at all. The artwork creates a space for contemplation about our shared atmosphere, of abundance and scarcity, and the value of each. The rain recordings incorporated in this work were made in collaboration with the sound artist Mark Vernon. 

Commissioned by Urban Art Projects, Australia, for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.


Rosnes Bench | 2014

A permanent artwork for the diverse and vast landscape of Dumfries & Galloway. 30 specially designed recumbent benches, positioned in 12 locations, over a 300 square-mile site have a profound effect on people when tried. When you lie down, you slow down and engage your senses in a different way. You become aware of things like the breeze, the sky, the scents from plants and the sounds around you. Today, many of us are disconnected from nature – in cities we are surrounded by concrete and have tarmac underfoot, the stars are blotted out by streetlights – the benches are an invitation and a conduit to the sensorial resources of hillsides, woodlands, loch sides and river banks of countryside around New Galloway, Newton Stewart and Gatehouse of Fleet. The design of the benches recall the mysterious ancient cup and ring marked stones, and recumbent stones, which stand in many remote parts of Scotland. 

Produced by Wide Open (South Scotland) Ltd for The Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Fabrication APE, Installation Jim Buchanan Projects Ltd. Funded by The LEADER programme, Creative Scotland and Dumfries & Galloway


Immersion Clothing | 2014

This work consists of a series of four garments; each made to facilitate a different type of interaction with the outdoors. The specific design of each garment focuses the wearer on an action that is a purposeful immersive act, acting as a marked contrast to the usual purpose of outdoor clothing that shields and protects and, by extension, isolates the wearer.

Silhouette allows the wearer to shift their shape from that of a human to something more akin to an erratic boulder, from where the wearers centres and stills themselves, to watch and examine other species around them. Rain, lets the wearer experience rain directly and luxuriously on their head and face, rather than sheltered beneath hoods and umbrellas. Recumbent encourages the wearer to go out and seek a place to lie down where tree canopies and skies can be observed, when no longer on their feet, the surrounding acoustics seem to increase in volume. The Gatherer jacket incorporates a sequence of bespoke pockets and files to collate field findings. All four garments have been designed and made in Harris Tweed, a Hebridean fabric that might at first appears traditional, even conservative, but by necessity must be woven on a hand loom in the weavers own home to earn its name, its self-regulating production makes this a powerfully political cloth. Tailoring and construction of the garments was in collaboration with Min Scotland.

First shown at Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh as part of Generation, 25 Years of Scottish Art.


Gold Leaf | 2011

A 12-meter high landmark sculpture on the site of the former Pooley Hall Colliery?visible from the M42, the artwork takes the profile of a 100s of birch leaves and was cast in aluminium before being gilded in gold.  Birch is a shallow rooting tree, able to cope with toxicity in soils and often the first?to colonise poor grounds. The idea of a leaf, or indeed millions of leaves, performing the alchemy of transforming air borne carbon through sunlight, and anchoring this to the earth, is a powerful symbol of both Pooley’s past and future. The coal that was mined at Pooley?for over a hundred years, was formed during the Jurassic period when millions of years of organic growth?and decay compressed into the seams of coal that were extracted and helped fuel the industrial development of Britain. Gold Leaf refers to these differing periods of plant activity, of the huge economies that grew from the excavation of buried sunlight, and re-evaluates? our relationship to our natural resources as we imagine the shape of future economies.  The artwork was cast, fabricated and installed by Black Isle Bronze. Gold finishing by TriTech, Nairn Ltd. Art Project managed by Working Parts.

Commissioned by Warwickshire County Council and the Homes & Communities Agency, NE of Birmingham, England, and was funded through the HCA's National Coalfields Regeneration Programme.


The Earth Turned To Bring Us Closer | 2006

This is the third collaboration between musician and composer Craig Armstrong and Dalziel + Scullion. A three screen video installation shows over 240 video portraits shot in the city of Glasgow and is accompanied Craig Armstrong’s composition Memory Takes My Hand. For the museum exhibitions, Berlin musician AGF remixed the music. The work looks at the shortness of human life set against the backdrop of the earth spinning in its orbit. D+S converted a telescope motor and engineered this and a large format camera tripod to connect to a high definition video camera. Portraits were filmed in offices, shops, streets, bars, hair salons, nursing homes, swimming pools, parks and factories throughout the city creating a unique portrait of the city and its inhabitants.

Commissioned by Glasgow Museums on behalf of Glasgow City Council to commemorate the reopening of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in 2006 after four years of refurbishment. Duration / (for single screen) 41 minutes and 45 seconds, with music by Craig Armstrong