Edinburgh Art Festival 2015

30 Jul — 30 Aug 2015 across the city of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

7 APRIL 2015
The Scottish Gallery: James Morrison, 'Storm over the Grampians 14.i.2015', Oil on board, 75 x 101 cm, Courtesy of The Scottish Gallery
The Scottish Gallery: James Morrison, 'Storm over the Grampians 14.i.2015', Oil on board, 75 x 101 cm, Courtesy of The Scottish Gallery

Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) announces its 2015 programme, combining ambitious presentations of Scottish and international contemporary art alongside major solo and survey shows of artists from the 20th century and historic movements. As the UK’s largest annual festival of visual arts, attracting nearly 300,000 attendances in 2014, EAF will this year present over 40 exhibitions across more than 30 of Edinburgh’s leading museums, galleries and institutions, as well as artist-run spaces and unexpected pop-up locations. Continuing its support for the next generation of Scottish artists, for the first time this year the festival will issue an open call for proposals by early career artists to be selected by a panel led by Director Sorcha Carey, alongside critically-acclaimed artist Christine Borland and emerging Scottish artist Craig Coulthard.

Highlights include:

  • Internationally-renowned artists introduced to UK audiences for the first time, including the first solo exhibitions in Scotland by Phyllida Barlow, Hanne Darboven, Kwang Young Chun and Beatrice Gibson; the first solo exhibition in a public gallery by American artist John Chamberlain and the first large-scale solo show in the UK by New York-based Tara Donovan.

  • New work by Scotland’s leading contemporary practitioners, including Toby Paterson at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and Sara Barker at Jupiter Artland; alongside two comprehensive surveys of Scottish art through the centuries at City Art Centre and The Queen’s Gallery.

  • Major art historical surveys including Lee Miller and Picasso, Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, 18th century portraiture by Jean-Étienne Liotard and the pioneer of Pop Art Roy Lichtenstein presented across the National Galleries of Scotland, in addition to much-loved Scottish artists John Bellany at Open Eye Gallery and Joan Eardley at The Scottish Gallery.

  • A strong focus on photography, contemporary and historic, including David Bailey at Scottish National Gallery, a major survey of the invention and development of photography in the Victorian period at the National Museum of Scotland, new work by political duo kennardphillips at Stills and Canadian artist Derek Michael Besant at Edinburgh Printmakers.

  • New work commissioned as part of the EAF 2015 commissions programme, presented across the city in unexpected and forgotten locations by emerging and established artists, including Charles Avery, in partnership with Ingleby Gallery where the artist is the subject of a new solo exhibition, and Marvin Gaye Chetwynd.

  • A newly-launched open call to early career artists which will provide a platform for a minimum of three Scotland-based artists, selected in close collaboration with Christine Borland and Craig Coulthard, both who have been commissioned to create a new work for EAF’s programme.

  • Exhibitions by the next generation of talent in Scotland and beyond, including Samara Scott and Lauren Gault at Jupiter Artland, France-Lise McGurn and Beatrice Gibson at Collective and a group show at one of Edinburgh’s newest venues, The Number Shop.

Sorcha Carey, Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, said: “As the only major annual festival dedicated to visual arts within Scotland and the UK, Edinburgh Art Festival occupies a uniquely important place in the cultural calendar. The youngest of Edinburgh’s summer festivals, the breadth and quality of our exhibitions programme is unrivalled, and this year we are particularly pleased to be introducing so much international work to UK audiences for the first time. We are also delighted to continue our support of early career artists through a newly launched open call, which will provide support and an international platform for artists based in Scotland who are at the beginning stages of their careers.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, said: “Today’s launch shows once again why the Edinburgh Art Festival is such an important platform for visual art in Scotland and internationally. The programme is both ambitious and inventive, demonstrating Scotland's reputation as a creative nation to audiences across the world.

Through the Scottish Government Expo Fund, we are proud to support the Edinburgh Art Festival and their work with leading and emerging Scottish artists. Each summer, Edinburgh truly becomes ‘The Improbable City’ awash with artists and cultural events. The commissioned public displays are important to introducing visual art to a wider audience. They have now become an iconic part of the festivals and for many of the works - such as the Scotsman Steps - the city of Edinburgh itself.”

Amanda Catto, Portfolio Manager for Visual Arts at Creative Scotland, said: “Edinburgh Art Festival makes a significant contribution to the city’s summer festivals, providing a vital platform for the visual arts, from the emerging to the internationally significant. There is a quality and diversity in this year’s programme that will engage people, spark debate and inspire and we are very proud to support the festival’s continued development through our Regular Funding portfolio.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s new Festivals and Events Champion, said: “Edinburgh Art Festival has delivered another fantastic and diverse programme for 2015, which includes exciting new artworks for public galleries and spaces in the capital. As the largest visual arts festival in the UK, it brings the very best in this field from across the globe to Edinburgh, greatly enhancing the city’s excellent reputation as home to the world’s greatest festivals. This year it is especially exciting to hear that new artists who are just starting out in their careers will be able to apply to work in close collaboration with Christine Borland and the Festival, in a move that could help to boost these artists’ careers.”

Significant Scottish and International Contemporary Artists

The Edinburgh Art Festival 2015 programme will feature work by internationally-renowned artists, including the first exhibitions in Scotland by British sculptor Phyllida Barlow, who will exhibit new site-specific sculptures at The Fruitmarket Gallery and a monumental installation of hundreds of framed works in a solo exhibition by renowned German conceptual artist Hanne Darboven at Talbot Rice Gallery, the University of Edinburgh. Dovecot Gallery will present the first exhibition in Scotland by Korean artist Kwang Young Chun, including 3D assemblages and a large-scale suspended sculpture and London-based artist Beatrice Gibson will exhibit a new film at Collective. The 2015 programme will also see the first solo exhibition in a public gallery by internationally-acclaimed American artist John Chamberlain at Inverleith House and the first large-scale solo show in the UK by Tara Donovan, whose exhibition at Jupiter Artland will open up the Jacobean Manor House’s Ballroom to the public for the first time.

Significant presentations by Scotland’s leading contemporary practitioners include sculptural assemblages and paintings by Toby Paterson at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, made for Maggie’s cancer caring centres across Scotland, and a new permanent commission by Sara Barker for Jupiter Artland. City Art Centre and The Queen’s Gallery will also showcase Scottish art, both exhibiting comprehensive overviews drawn from the city’s collection and the Royal Collection.

Extensive Photographic Exhibitions

The largest exhibition of portraits in the UK by legendary photographer David Bailey will be shown at the Scottish National Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland will provide insight into 18th century Victorian photography and our own modern-day fascination for recording the world around us. Edinburgh Printmakers will showcase a dynamic new photographic exhibition by Canadian artist Derek Michael Besant, whilst political artist-duo kennardphillips will reveal new digital photomontage and installation work at Stills Gallery.

Commissions Programme

Edinburgh Art Festival has a growing reputation for its annual city-wide commissions programme. In the past five years, the programme has expanded to support more artists, both Scottish and international, at all stages in their career. This year’s programme, titled ‘The Improbable City’, takes inspiration from Italo Calvino’s seminal work Invisible Cities as well as Edinburgh’s own fairytale cityscape, to explore the work of artists who transport us to fictional worlds. The programme will include new work by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Charles Avery, whose work will also be featured in a solo exhibition at Ingleby Gallery inspired by his ongoing project ‘The Islanders’. New commissions by Scottish and international established and emerging artists will also be exhibited across the city. Full details of the 2015 commissions programme will be announced in April 2015.

Art Historical and Survey Exhibitions

Edinburgh Art Festival’s programme is unique in its inclusion of historic work alongside the very best contemporary practice. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery will present an exhibition featuring approximately 100 photographs focusing on the relationship between Lee Miller and Picasso. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will exhibit important work by the pioneer of Pop Art, Roy Lichtenstein predominantly from the 1990s, in addition to an exhibition of work by the 20th century Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Open Eye Gallery will focus on rarely seen works by John Bellany, in an exhibition of work selected with his wife and muse, Helen Bellany. The Scottish Gallery will feature new landscape paintings by James Morrison alongside work by Scotland’s most celebrated female artist Joan Eardley.

International historical surveys include a retrospective of tapestries by Serbian-born textile designer Bernat Klein, the designer credited with saving the textiles industry in the Scottish borders at Dovecot Studios; portraits by 18th century artist Jean-Étienne Liotard at the Scottish National Gallery; and the finest 19th century Japanese porcelain at the National Museum of Scotland.

The Next Generation of Artists

In addition to the festival’s annual, city-wide commissions programme, Edinburgh Art Festival is committed to supporting the next generation of artists from Scotland and beyond through a range of opportunities. In 2015, for the first time, EAF is introducing a new annual exhibition platform for early career artists, intended to provide support and an international platform for artists at the beginning stages of their careers. A minimum of three artists will be selected from an open call to present work as part of a group for the 2015 festival. Proposals will be selected by a panel led by Sorcha Carey, alongside artists Christine Borland and Craig Coulthard, both commissioned by EAF in the past 2 years to create new work for EAF’s programme.

Other festival exhibitions that support early career artists will include a group exhibition at The Number Shop, featuring new work across a wide range of media by ten studio residents and recent Scottish art school graduates; a new site-specific outdoor installation by Lauren Gault alongside an immersive painted environment by Samara Scott at Jupiter Artland; a group exhibition bringing together a range of artworks exploring the relationship between visual encounters and language at Rhubaba; and an immersive installation incorporating sound, video and drawn works by France-Lise McGurn as part of Collective’s 2015 Satellites Programme, a development initiative for emerging artists based in Scotland.

The Skinny Showcase, a platform for early career artists in partnership with one of Scotland’s leading cultural publications, will also return to this year’s festival, showcasing work by recent Scottish art school graduates, alongside degree show exhibitions by students from Art, Design, Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. ECA’s Tent Gallery will also feature an exhibition of performance and sound works originally conceived for Outlandia, a remote artist’s field station overlooking Ben Nevis.

Associate Programme

Edinburgh Art Festival’s associate programme, selected from a call for proposals, offers artists, curators and organisations without a year-round programme in the city the chance to participate in the festival. This year’s associate programme includes exhibitions by the Dennis and Debbie Club at Codebase, David Sherry at Patriothall Gallery, Eva Isleifsdottir at South Gallery and the Travelling Gallery’s exhibition of work by Scottish Turner Prize winners and nominees in association with Tramway, Glasgow. There will also be site-specific performances by Yvonne Buskie (in collaboration with musician Luke Sutherland and dancer Christine Devaney) and Deborah Marshall in an acoustic performance developed for Central Register House. Deveron Arts will curate a panel discussion with artist Antony Schrag, the Telfer Gallery will collaborate with the Scottish Book Trust and artist Abigaile Neate Wilson to explore the shifting experience of cityscapes in the digital age. New work from artists and collaborators will also be exhibited at GARAGE including a series of live art events and shows.

For more information visit: www.edinburghartfestival.com