The 15th edition of the Edinburgh Art Festival runs from 26 July to 26 August 2018.
At the galleries around the capital there is lots to see.
Open Eye Gallery John Bellany: The Wild Days, focusing on the artist’s abstract, highly gestural work from the period 1980-89. Recognised as some of the artist’s most challenging output, the majority of work planned for display has rarely been seen before and will present a pivotal moment in the career of arguably one of the most important Scottish artists of the 20th century.
City Art Centre will explore the oeuvre of Scottish painter Edwin G. Lucas in the first ever major exhibition of his work, An Individual Eye. A highly original autodidact, he was born and educated in Edinburgh and the show will be an unmissable reappraisal of Lucas’ life and career, most crucially the lasting impact his encounters with Surrealism had on his boldly experimental work.
Providing an eye-opening counterpoint to An Individual Eye, The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh will present Assemblage, an exhibition focusing on Scottish artists’ contribution to the medium pioneered by Cubism and Surrealism, exploring the significance of found objects and constructed narratives in conveying history and cultural identity. The Fine Art Society, with The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, will also hold an exhibition showcasing and responding to six key historic paintings from The Fleming Collection.
Presenting over 100 paintings, drawings and prints from the Royal Collection’s holdings of 18th century Venetian art, Canaletto & the Art of Venice at The Queen’s Gallery will be the largest exhibition of works by the Venetian master ever to come to Scotland.
Rembrandt: Britain’s Discovery of the Master at the Scottish National Gallery will explore the major impact of Rembrandt’s work in this country. This exclusive new exhibition will only be shown in Edinburgh. The evolution of the taste for Rembrandt’s work in Britain, which reached its height in the late-18th century will be revealed, as well as the lasting impact the artist has had on the British artistic imagination right up to the present day.
Eight works by the much sought-after, Kashmiri-born artist Raqib Shaw will be on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Shaw’s work, which has never before been exhibited in Scotland, will be hung alongside two paintings from the gallery’s collection which have long inspired him: Joseph Noel Paton’s The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania (1849) and Lucas Cranach’s An Allegory of Melancholy (1528). In July, the gallery will open Emil Nolde: Colour is Life, comprising around 120 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints spanning the entire career of one of Germany’s greatest Expressionist artists.
There will be several notable survey exhibitions exploring the importance and enduring legacy of craft and design in Britain. Art of Glass at the National Museum of Scotland in partnership with The National Centre for Craft & Design will consider how Britain has significantly impacted the perceptions of glass as an art form over the past 50 years, as well as the means by which artists today continue to innovatively embrace the medium.
A major retrospective celebrating the beloved retailer and design studio Liberty, will go on show at Dovecot Gallery, featuring over 100 garments and fabrics spanning 140 years from one of the most celebrated textile producers in history.
Jacob’s Ladder at Ingleby Gallery will celebrate mankind’s relationship with space and our enduring attempts to fathom the unfathomable. Rare historical materials will be shown alongside works by artists including Alijca Kwade, Cornelia Parker and Katie Paterson to consider the imaginative territory between Earth and the Heavens. Installed in Ingleby’s new space, a former Meeting House for the Glasite brethren, the exhibition will be only the second show in the gallery since it opened.
City Art Centre will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Travelling Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in a bus that has formed a unique and integral part of Scotland’s cultural offering since the ‘70s, with a major retrospective exhibition over two floors of the space. Artists who have contributed to the Travelling Gallery include Rachel Maclean, Scotland’s exhibiting artist at the 57th Venice Biennale, Turner Prize winner Douglas Gordon, Charles Avery and Christian Marclay, amongst many notable others. Housed within a newly commissioned and site-specific installation in the gallery by Scottish artist Mike Inglis, an active programme of talks and events will provide a platform for broader discussions on the accessibility and diversity of contemporary art in Scotland.
Newly commissioned printworks by internationally exhibited artist, writer and curator Ravi Agarwal will be shown at Edinburgh Printmakers. Drawing from his background as an environmental campaigner, Agarwal, who lives and works in New Delhi, has produced new works responding to the challenges posed to urban nature in Scotland, the way wilderness has been depicted visually in Scotland, and current community efforts for rewilding. This will be the penultimate show in Edinburgh Printmakers’ current site before moving into the former North British Rubber Company HQ at Castle Mill Works, which is currently being transformed through a £12.3m redevelopment project. Their future home, and vibrant new creative hub for Edinburgh, is due to open in 2019.
Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop will present newly commissioned work from Birthe Jorgensen, Santiago Poggio and Scott Rogers. The culmination of a six-month international exchange between Argentina and Scotland, the included artists’ practices deal with issues of geographical displacement, environment, heritage, structural power and our relationship with nature. Jorgensen’s work intertwines disparate narratives, places and time frames, speaking to themes of geographical displacement, feminism and environmentalism. Poggio’s work deals with the mechanisms by which the history of the world is constructed, and the systematic structuring of the past, while Rogers’ recent work is focused on encounters between humans, animals, and natural forces, and the implications these encounters have for understanding power, desire, and ecology.
Created in response to the Jupiter Artland site, Ollie Dook will create his first outdoor work, Of Landscape Immersion, reflecting on contained boundaries inspired by zoo enclosures, fabricated microclimates and nature documentary footage. Presented amongst a fabricated sculptural enclosure, the audience will become both observers and spectacle under watch.
Rhubaba will launch of the first in a series of flag artworks to be flown from a newly installed pole. The inaugural work will be designed by Scottish painter, ECA graduate and Rhubaba studio holder, Rabiya Choudhry.
New work by artist Robert Powell will go on display in Between The Lost Places at The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh. Powell’s minutely detailed etchings and sculptures often depict satirical and dark humoured scenes, referencing art history, literature and modern society. Between The Lost Places is a meditation on real and imagined topographies, cartography and modern travel, but recalls the sensibility of his home city of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh College of Art will welcome visitors to their campus for a special Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition. Also open on George Street will be a Design Informatics Pavilion, featuring objects and experiences by researchers and students on the Design Informatics Masters programme that invite exploration into the future of technological design. Melanie Gilligan’s dystopian drama, The Common Sense, which tracks the impact of a new immersive technology that enables individuals to tap into the sensation of others over 15 short episodes, will be on view in the College’s West Court for the duration of the Festival. The work is the first acquisition made by the University of Edinburgh’s Contemporary Art Research Collection.
More details on the vast array of things to see (many of which are free) on the Edinburgh Art Festival website here.