Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is Scotland’s largest annual celebration of visual art. Attracting over 250,000 visits each year, the Festival brings together galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, alongside public art commissions and an innovative programme of special events. During July and August, Central Station is going to publish a series of blogs taking a closer look at what’s happening this year.
With Edinburgh Art Festival opening in less than a week, the commissions and their sites are entering the final stages. Here are some images from recent weeks.
Krijn de Koning has taken casts from the Edinburgh College of Art’s collection and positioned them in new, unexpected groupings in the Sculpture Court. Here (above) they sit ahead of the scaffolding and platforms in which they are now submerged, changing and challenging the way we perceive these iconic works. De Koning builds structures which offer new possibilities to navigate and experience the space they inhabit.
Christine Borland and Brody Condon’s commission Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen is being installed in the burnt out Watchtower of the New Calton Burial Ground. This circular tower is one of several such structures built in Edinburgh in the 1820s to address a growing problem with ‘Resurrectionists’, individuals who dug up recently interred (not yet decomposed) bodies and sold them to the Anatomy School for dissection, and provides a highly resonant site for the artists’ exploration of ideas around decay and dereliction from the 18th century to the present day. This structure has recently been the recipient of TLC courtesy of Edinburgh World Heritage.
Ross Sinclair has created over 43,500 artworks for Edinburgh Art Festival this year: billboards, banners, posters, postcards, beermats, bags and 7” vinyl. These works are being installed and distributed over the coming week. Keep an eye out for them on the streets, in the pubs and outside the newsagents. Details of which spaces are taking part will be announced shortly. Identity (personal, collective, local, national and international) and its construction have remained central concerns in Sinclair’s practice. Scotland is of particular interest to the artist, precisely, as he has noted, because of the degree to which our sense of Scottish-ness and what it means to inhabit this country, comes as much from the imagination of poets and artists, as real lived experience. The results from this commission will be found on the streets, in the pubs and outside selected newsagents.
Sarah Kenchington’s Wind Pipes for Edinburgh are currently being fine-tuned. This giant one-of-a-kind instrument, installed in Trinity Apse, is made out of over 100 decommissioned organ pipes. This is the first instrument Sarah Kenchington has created that is to be played by other people other than herself. Wind Pipes for Edinburgh requires at least 6 willing bodies to man the bellows. The installation will be accompanied by a series of concerts from guest composers and children’s workshops, all of which are bookable on the Edinburgh Art Festival website.
Much like our Ross Sinclair commission, Peter Liversidge’s Flags for Edinburgh is to be installed gradually over this week in its various sites, building up to the full flying of flags by the beginning of August. Here is the Scottish National Gallery’s flag, newly installed on their roof with beautiful views of the castle behind. The artist invited anyone in the city with a flagpole to fly a white flag which bears the text: HELLO. The project stemmed from a desire to remind us that in its simplest sense, the flag too is a form of hello, “a greeting, an indication of intent be that benevolent or with malice”. It is, in the artist’s own words, “a simple welcome across the rooftops “.
These are but 5 of this year’s 10 Edinburgh Art Festival commissions, all of which are on show 1 August – 1 September. Read more at www.edinburghartfestival.com.