City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Art Festival Brings Out Big Guns


By edg - Posted on 30 March 2012

Susan Philipsz

The Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) launched its 2012 programme - its 9th - earlier this week. 

Thirty of Edinburgh’s museums, not-for-profit and commercial galleries, come together in "the UK’s largest annual festival dedicated to visual art", running from 2nd August to 2nd September 2012.

The EAF's 45 exhibitions range from the blockbuster names such as the Edvard Munch touring exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art to pop-up shows taking place in artist-run spaces.

One to look out for this year is the Promenade Programme of newly commissioned, publicly sited artworks which will take visitors on a tour of the New Town.

Supported by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, it will feature new work by  established and early career artists, taking the city as a stage to celebrate Edinburgh's rich architectural heritage in a series of interventions around historic monuments and public spaces.

Among these is a new sound installation by 2010 Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz (pictured), inspired by Edinburgh’s One O’clock Gun, the famous time signal that has been fired from the ramparts of Edinburgh castle virtually every day since 1861.

Philipsz' work, Timeline, will plot a series of short sound installations across multiple sites in the city inspired by the historical timepiece.

Opening on 4th August, is the first exhibition on Picasso's connections with Britain (details of all the National Galleries forthcoming exhibitions are here).

Over at the National Museum of Scotland, ‘Catherine the Great: An Enlightened Empress’ draws on Catherine’s legacy as one of the greatest art collectors of all time with works by "illustrious" European and Russian artists of the 18th Century, many of which have never been seen outside of Russia.

In ‘Treasures from the Queen’s Palaces’, art from Rembrandt and Van Dyck to Paul Nash, Peter Blake, and Lucian Freud will be among pieces hanging at The Queen’s Gallery as part of the Diamond Jubilee year. The exhibition promises to showcase the breadth of the Royal Collection developed over five centuries.

Exhibitions by major international artists to look forward to this Summer include: Dieter Roth at The Fruitmarket Gallery; Hermann Nitsch at Summerhall; Tim Rollins & K.O.S, and Donald Judd at Talbot Rice Gallery; Melvin Moti at National Museum of Scotland; Rachel Mayeri at Edinburgh College of Art; and Philip Guston at Inverleith House.

Old Scottish faves also make a return with retrospectives of Ian Hamilton Finlay (including his recently re-discovered 1977 film Carrier Strike!) at the Ingleby Gallery, and a look at his work that riffs on the French Revolution at the Demarco Foundation Gallery at Summerhall.

The first major exhibition of Scottish colourist Leslie Hunter in 50 years is at the City Art Centre, and the vibrant, figurative work of John Bellany, who is 70 years old this year, will be celebrated at the Open Eye Gallery.

Edinburgh Art Festival Highlights

  • New commissions by Susan Philipsz, Andrew Miller, Kevin Harman and Anthony Schrag as part of a ‘Promenade Programme’ of publicly-sited works across Edinburgh city
  • Summer blockbusters at Edinburgh’s leading visual art venues including ‘Picasso and Modern British Art’ at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, ‘Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscapes in Europe 1880-1910’ at Scottish National Gallery and ‘Catherine the Great: An Enlightened Empress’ at National Museum of Scotland
  • Solo retrospectives of critically acclaimed UK and Scottish artists including Ian Hamilton Finlay at Ingleby Gallery, Leslie Hunter at City Art Centre and John Bellany at Open Eye Gallery
  • A major exhibition of rarely-seen tapestries charting the history of Dovecot Studios in their centenary year, including works by David Hockney, Paul Gauguin, Eduardo Paolozzi and Claire Barclay
  • Early career artists including artist collective ~ in the fields at New Media Scotland and group exhibitions at Rhubaba Gallery and Studios, GARAGE, Superclub and Contemporary Art Exchange