The UK’s largest annual visual art festival combines work from Edinburgh’s most prestigious galleries and museums as well as artist-run spaces, new commissions from emerging and established artists, and special events – most of which are free. While contemporary commissions by international artists lead the line-up each year, the festival also offers the chance to see major solo shows by the greatest names in art history which are organised to run alongside the festival in each of Edinburgh’s large institutions.
This year’s full line up of commissions has now been announced, and is set to include artists such as Charles Avery, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Ariel Guzik, who are all creating pieces following the theme of The Improbable City – exploring the fairy-tale architecture of Edinburgh.
The festival opens up access to forgotten and unusual spaces, not ordinarily used as exhibition spaces, giving a different view to the city and its complex history. These spaces are likened to the ‘imagined spaces’ of 17th century Italian explorer, Marco Polo, whose not yet conceived ideas of exceptional cities made their way into 55 short prose poems titled Invisible Cities – the namesake for 2015’s The Improbable City commission programme.
The works this year conjure visions of imaginary worlds, with artists creating fictional landscapes to experience physically or enter into visually. As an entity the works consider how the improbable brings us closer to future realities, as technology and landscaping dramatically changes in our contemporary world, and reflect upon Edinburgh itself which was once described as a ‘mad god’s dream’.
Scottish artist Charles Avery will create a large sculptural piece in Edinburgh’s historic Waverley Station, in tandem with his ongoing project, The Islanders. Meanwhile British artist and Turner Prize nominee, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd will create a performance within the debating chamber of the Old Royal High School. Three international talents in particular arrive in the UK for the first time, Mexican artist Ariel Guzik, South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulere and Quebecois performance, installation and video artist, Julie Favreau.
Between them, Wa Lehulere presents a large wall-drawing in chalk, Favreau shows work created during a Royal Over-Seas League residency at Hospitalfield in Arbroath and Guzik exhibits the first prototype for a submarine designed to communicate with dolphins and whales – giving rise to relationships with the natural world which could have been.
Edinburgh Art Festival, 30 July – 30 August, various venues across the city of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Find out more www.edinburghartfestival.com.
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1. Charles Avery, Jadindagadendar (Tree no.4), 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias.