Until next year…

The Edinburgh Art Festival 2011 has now drawn to a close. The month was an exciting and innovative time, both for everyone involved in making it happen and for those who came along to enjoy the diverse array of exhibitions and events. The Festival provided a welcome counterpoint to the frenetic atmosphere of the Fringe, allowing participants to engage and explore Edinburgh far beyond the concentrated arena of the city centre. The Solar Pavilion  proved to be a multi purpose space thoroughout the month; morphing  from a work of art in itself to a  BBC film set to a shelter from the relentless rain to a salon filled with lively debate during the lunchtime talks. Many people have lamented it’s impermanence in St Andrews Square, but such is the nature of festivals, magical and fleeting they must be enjoyed while they last and remembered once they’ve gone. Until the next year.
In the meantime spend some time here and find out more about the 2011 programme…

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Explore The Edinburgh Art Festival…

Overwhelmed by the possibilities of this wonderful city in August? Me too. Let’s forget about all the other festivals for the time being and concentrate on the visual arts, and the wonderfully diverse programme of events and exhibitions that the Edinburgh Art Festival has put together. There are 42 shows this year so it is still a tall order to get through them all. To aid us in our cultural pursuits The Edinburgh Art Festival has very helpfully commissioned a map of the city by artist J Maizlish, pick it up from participating galleries, The Solar Pavilion or download it here.

This blog is an attempt to see as many of the exhibitions on offer this month and also to keep a diary of life through the lens that is the Solar Pavilion…

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Spreading the Word

This year the Edinburgh Art Festival commissioned American artist J.Maizlish to draw a map of the city and participating venues. He spent several days in Edinburgh earlier this year and visited all of the venues by foot. His beautiful pen and ink drawing can be seen on display at the Ingleby Gallery, and a copy can be downloaded here, or collected from the Solar Pavilion until the end of the festival (4 September) and participating venues. You can also pick up an Edinburgh Art Festival bag at the Fruitmarket and Ingleby Galleries. This lovely bag features this years Edinburgh Art Festival identity logo designed by Fraser Muggeridge Studio and another drawing by J.Maizlish “4 Aug. – 4 Sep. In The Scheme of Things” , a depiction of the Solar System based on “hard science and hearsay”.

Image by Merriebg

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Art Late Tour #3 By Bus…

As the Walking tours departed,  my consorts waited patiently for our bus driver to arrive and take us up the hill to the Printmakers Gallery…yes, considering the one way system it may well have been quicker to walk but I’m telling you, was it worth it when we got there. We were given a warm welcome at the door and offered a glass of whatever alongside the opportunity to explore the exhibition upstairs. A premiere exhibition of new and recent editions by three British artists;  Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport and Julian Opie who are all pushing the boundaries of printmaking in their practise. It was Julian Opie in particular who had my jaw dropping with his four Japanese landscapes and a few examples from his series ‘This is Shanoza in 3 Parts’. I’ve never been to Japan and I’ve never met Shanoza but after tonight I sure wish I’d done both .

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Art Late Walking Tour #2

Ready for a night packed with much anticipated Art-Late events, yesterday evening began at Ingleby Gallery, with the exhibition: ‘Mystics or Rationalists?’. Featuring 9 artists such as Susan Hiller, Cornelia Parker and Iran do Ispírito Santo, the focus on ideas of perception provided a somewhat magical start, with magic-man Ali Cook in the gallery performing tricks to our delight.

From here I lead an eager group of 25 who had (unwittingly?!) signed themselves onto a tour encompassing several exhibitions around the Waverley area.

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Life through the lens #4 Digital Playgrounds

Where Diarmaid Lawlor’s discussion on being “Public” was grounded firmly in the physical world of placemaking and design, our next panel of experts to be welcomed into the Solar Pavilion were a trio of leading digital practitioners discussing the concept of “Festivals as Digital Playgrounds”. Introduced by Suzy Glass of Trigger; Annette Mees of Coney , Alex Fleetwood of Hide & Seek  and Rohan Gunatillake of Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab came along to explore the creative opportunities made possible by digital tools.

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Diary #7 Costume and Custom in Japanese Art

Today I popped into Edinburgh’s Central Library on George IV Bridge – right in the centre of Fringe-land – to find yet another intriguing EAF exhibition: ‘Costume and Custom in Japanese Art‘ . From the library’s own substantial collection of 50 exquisite prints, these pieces were kindly donated by Marie Ferguson Dyer in memory of her father Henry Dyer, a Scottish engineer/ academic who became the first Principal of the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo in 1872. A selection of Japanese woodcut prints, along with hand-scroll paintings were brought back to Scotland by Dyer and now inhabit the foyer and stairwell of the library; for us, well worth a considerably shorter journey from the Edinburgh drizzle to see!

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Life through the lens #3 Being Public

The Solar Pavilion yesterday afternoon was a most interesting place to be. We had  a BBC film crew in conducting an interiew for The Culture Show (airing tonight: BBC 2 at 7pm, highlights from this year’s Festival including The Queen: Art and Image), and guest speaker Diarmaid Lawlor, Head of Urbanism at Architecture and Design Scotland who had come along to give a talk on being ‘Public’. This was then followed by a panel sesion with top digital minds exploring digital projects within the festival context ‘Festivals as Digital Playgrounds’ to celebrate the launch of Watch the Water.

The Solar Pavilion is an apt venue for a discussion on being ‘Public’, it is situated in a public domain and it’s transparency invites interaction between those on the inside and the outside. Rather than his usual dependence on Powerpoint,  Diarmaid instead had the backdrop of the city while he reflected on streets, society and the challenge of being ‘public’.

The BBC Film Crew and Diarmaid Lawlor in The Solar Pavilion

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