Art Festival exhibitions - 2018 programme revealed

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August 2018 sees the 15th edition of Edinburgh Art Festival, and details have been announced of this year's programme of exhibitions at more than 25 partner venues across the city.

Highlights of the Festival, the UK's only major annual festival of visual arts, include:

Sorcha Carey, Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, said:

Our Festival’s origins lie in the strength of Edinburgh’s year-round visual arts scene. As we enter our 15th edition, this year’s partner exhibitions continue to demonstrate the ambitious and inspiring programming that has shaped our Festival from its inception.

Female artists

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The work of acclaimed British artist Tacita Dean will be presented at the Fruitmarket Gallery, examining Dean's approaches to narrative, the imagination and the collective effort of artist and audience. 

At Jupiter Artland, Phyllida Barlow's multi-part commission quarry will feature in the estate's woodland, while indoors Portugal's Joana Vasconcelos will exhibit her trademark large-scale surreal works, including Carmen Miranda, a large-scale replica of a stiletto shoe. 

There will also be a major solo exhibition of Scotland's Lucy Skaer at Talbot Rice Gallery, and work from Victoria Crowe on show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and The Scottish Gallery. The latter feature's Crowe's entirely new collection, A Certain Light, along with exhibitions from Bodil Manz and Catherine Martin

20th Century Scottish Artists

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The first ever major exhibition of the work of Edwin G Lucas will take place at the Fruitmarket Gallery. Showcasing the work of this highly original Edinburgh native, An Individual Eye will look at his life, career and connections with Surrealism. 

Surrealism and Cubism also feature in Assemblage  (Fine Art Society of Edinburgh) in which the contribution of Scottish artists to the forms will be explored. 

The Fine Art Society of Edinburgh will also host an exhibition centred on six key historic paintings from The Fleming Collection, while at Open Eye Gallery there will be a chance to see rarely displayed work from John Bellany in The Wild Days

Large-Scale Art Historical and Survey Shows

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In one of a number of landmark exhibitions, The Queen's Gallery will host Canaletto & the Art of Venice, with more than 100 paintings, drawings and prints presented from the Royal Collection's collection of 18th century Venetian art. 

Rembrandt: Britain's Discovery of the Master, exclusively shown at Edinburgh's Scottish National Gallery, will explore the work of the Dutch painter, draughtsman and printmaker, and consider its lasting impact in this country. 

The influence and legacy of the Old Masters will also feature at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, where Raquib Shaw's work will be displayed in Scotland for the first time. Shaw's art will hang alongside two of his biggest inspirations, Joseph Noel Paton’s The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania (1849) and Lucas Cranach’s An Allegory of Melancholy (1528).

Other major shows include Emil Nolde: Colour is Life, also at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Art of Glass at the National Museum of Scotland and a major retrospective at Dovecot Gallery featuring over 100 garments and fabrics in celebration of retailer and design studio Liberty

Group Exhibitions featuring Leading International Artists 

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The work of Alijca Kwade, Cornelia Parker, Katie Paterson and others will feature alongside rare historical materials in Jacob's Ladder at the newly relocated Ingleby Gallery, celebrating mankind’s relationship with space and our enduring attempts to fathom the unfathomable. 

At the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art the third edition of NOW will offer a major survey of the work of Jenny Saville, covering 25 years of the renowned British artist's career. There will also be related pieces from Sara Barker, Christine Borland, Robin Rhode and Markus Schinwald.

And there will be a celebration of 40 years of the converted bus turned contemporary art space, the Travelling Gallery, with a major retrospective taking two floors of the City Art Centre. A newly commissioned installation by Mike Inglis will house talks and events inspired by the Travelling Gallery, considering issues of accessibility and diversity in contemporary Scottish art. 

The Power of Place, Community and Environment 

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A range of newly commissioned, site specific pieces will ensure that themes of humanity's connection to nature, the elements and our environments are present across much of the Festival. 

These include new printworks from Ravi Agarwhal, shown at Edinburgh Printmakers, considering challenges for nature in urban environments, how wilderness has been portrayed in Scotland and the efforts being made towards rewilding.

Newly commissioned pieces from Birthe Jorgensen, Santiago Poggio and Scott Rogers will be on show at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop as the culmination of a six-month international exchange between Argentina and Scotland. The work will look at issues of geographical displacement, environment, heritage, structural power and our relationship with nature. 

At Jupiter Artland, Ollie Dook's first outdoor work, Of Landscape Immersion, will be created, reflecting on contained boundaries, while at Rhubaba the first in a series of flag artworks will be flown, designed by Rabiya Choudhry

Photography and Film

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Back at City Art Centre, In Focus: Scottish Photography will showcase the venue's photographic collections from the 19th century to the present day, featuring work by the likes of Hill and Adamson, Thomas Begbi, Joseph McKenzie and Maud Sulter

Nearby at Stills Gallery, a two-part exhibition of Gunnie Moberg's photographs will sit alongside archive material and films by Margaret Tait, including rarely seen photographic material on loan from the Orkney Library & Archive. 

The National Galleries of Scotland's permanent collection of photography will provide images from Alfred G Buckham, Humphrey Spender and Alfred Stieglitz, as Planes, Trains & Automobiles examines the urge to travel and the technology developed as a result. 

Meanwhile, Dead Images at the Edinburgh College of Art will ask questions regarding shared responsibility, ownership, racial supremacy, colonial authority, personhood and consent, in relation to historic skull collections from across Europe.

Edinburgh's Fresh Talent

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Edinburgh Art Festival continues to offer visitors a chance to discover new work from artists in the city, with shows such as DOZEN at The Number Shop featuring a rolling collection of installation, embroidery, video essays, illustration, and field recordings from the studio's resident artists.

At Dovecot Gallery, Lucy Wayman responds to the Liberty Art Fabrics & Fashion (see above) with sculptural works featuring repetitive structures and soft materials, created with generational craft techniques, such as weaving and macramé. 

Between The Lost Places at The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh features new etchings and sculptures from Robert Powell, while at Edinburgh College of Art new work from postgraduate students will feature in a special exhibition

ECA's Design Informatics Pavilion on George Street will include experiences and objects inviting exploration into the future of technological design, while Melanie Gilligan’s dystopian drama, The Common Sense will be on view at the College’s West Court. 

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland, said:

The Festival and its partners bring some of the most interesting and exciting visual art to the city - from the historic to the contemporary, from the well-known names to those who are just emerging. It is a great opportunity for local audiences and summer visitors to enjoy the most diverse range of work - and for this work to have such national and international reach. We are delighted to be a core supporter of the Festival’s work.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh’s Culture and Communities Convener, said:

The Edinburgh Art Festival remains a key platform for early career artists, helping to promote the vital and lasting role the arts play in Edinburgh and Scotland.

The Edinburgh Art Festival 2018 Commissions Programme, presenting new work in public spaces and historical buildings across the city, will be announced in May 2018.

Find out more about Edinburgh Art Festival at

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