Reviews & features: Visual art

355 reviews

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Exhibit B

17 Aug 20145 stars

A deeply moving and confrontational work staging the hidden Curiosity Cabinets of European racism

It's the eyes that get you first when you step into South African artist Brett Bailey's searing damnation of historical and modern-day racism. Set up as a series of tableaux vivants in the most quietly ornate of human zoos, the audience are invited to…

Victoria Crowe: Real and Reflected

17 Aug 20144 stars

Solo show transforms the Scottish Gallery into a tranquil haven at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Stepping in to Victoria Crowe’s exhibition out of the bustle of Edinburgh mid-festival is like finding an oasis of calm. Her delicate, multi-layered paintings, with titles like ‘Considered silence’ and ‘Ordered Reflection’, are still and thoughtful…

Edinburgh Art Festival group show Garage is a way of ‘getting people together and having some fun’

18 Aug 2014

Artist Emma Bowen discusses the show, which also features work from Denis Uster and David MacDiarmid

Each weekend during the Edinburgh Art Festival, Garage, a mini art festival located inside and outside of 51a Northumberland Street, will open to the public. The project has ben organised by artist Emma Bowen, who has invited guest curators and sundry…

Genesis & Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge - Life as a Cheap Suitcase (Pandrogeny & A Search for a Unified Identity)

15 Aug 20144 stars

Exhibition documenting embarking on Pandrogyny project in a bid to look identical to each other

From 1960s arts collective COUM Transmissions to the industrial band Throbbing Gristle and beyond, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge was the ultimate self-created deity. So when he and partner Lady Jaye embarked on their Pandrogyny project in a bid to look…

New Media Scotland: Alt-w

17 Aug 20143 stars

Works by Donna Leishman, Calum Stirling and Mehrpouya and Powell on show at Edinburgh Art Festival

Bringing traditional aesthetics and digital programming together, the artworks showcased in Alt-w approach ‘new media’ in a variety of ways. Two large sculptural works by ~ in the fields are first over the threshold, though they sit uneasily in the…

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Calum Colvin: The Magic Box

9 Aug 20143 stars

Mythical landscapes constructed from sculpture, painting & photography at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Each piece by Calum Colvin is a treasure chest, a feast of detail, reference and delicate composition which invites the viewer to figure out precisely how he did it. Somewhere between sculpture, photography and painting (many of his works are…

Review: Where Do I End and You Begin

11 Aug 20144 stars

Major exhibition At Edinburgh's City Art Centre confronts the difficult history of the Commonwealth

This major exhibition developed by the Edinburgh Art Festival takes its title from a neon text by Indian artist Shilpa Gupta, which seems highly relevant. In a world where so much is global - not least contemporary art - the lines between “I” and “you”…

Generation - Scottish National Gallery

5 Aug 20144 stars

Outstanding group show celebrating contemporary art in Scotland

That this segment of the nationwide GENERATION exhibition is showing for free during the Edinburgh Festival, in possibly the city's flagship city centre gallery space, is a great advertisement for the Scottish art scene – not because it’s a triumph of…

kennardphillips: DemoTalk

4 Aug 20144 stars

A fearless critique of war and power at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Peter Kennard and Cat Phillips have been making working in response to the Iraq War since 2002. Over the past twelve years they have developed a provocative and unflinchingly fearless critical practice that confronts war and power across the world.

John Ruskin: Artist and Observer

17 Aug 20142 stars

An all too comprehensive overview of the painter's practice shows him to be less than outstanding

John Ruskin: Artist and Observer at first appears to be an unassuming display of watercolours, sketches and photos, appealing only to enthusiasts for either the media or the natural or architectural subjects that form its visual content. Yet by the time…

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Art Rooms

13 Aug 20144 stars

Black Cube Collective's less orthodox encounter with contemporary art showcases brilliant new talent

Set in the 17th-century Cockenzie House, 30 minutes out of Edinburgh, the Black Cube Collective’s Art Rooms offers a less orthodox encounter with contemporary art. As well as an exhibition, with artists displaying work throughout the house and garden…

Villa Design Group: The House of Adelaida Ivanovna

9 Aug 20143 stars

Postmodern European theatre/installation staged in a shopping mall, part of Edinburgh Art Festival

The vast top-floor warehouse space of Ocean Terminal's Logan's Run-style shopping mall is a gloriously incongruous venue for the Hamburg/London-based Villa Design Group to house its epic reimagining of Gogol's play, The Gamblers. While the array of…

Ming: The Golden Empire

5 Aug 20143 stars

The Edinburgh Art Festival presents an eclectic collection of artefacts from the Ming Dynasty period

From porcelain fish vats to civil service exam papers, Ming: The Golden Empire is strikingly eclectic. This ambitious exhibition enlightens the audience on the 276-year Ming Dynasty through a combination of intriguing artefacts and digital…

Edinburgh Art Festival 2014: Duffy, Tennyson and Hughes showcased in Poetry for the Palace

4 Aug 2014

The exhibition aims to provide a more visual angle to the work of the Poets Laureate

Subtitled ‘Poets Laureate From Dryden to Duffy’, this exhibition seeks, says curator Deborah Clarke, to be ‘a unique mix of words, art, and voices relating to the Poets Laureate, including original manuscripts and rare editions, many personally…

Edinburgh Art Festival 2014 interview: Yann Seznec on his fan-based work, Currents

15 Aug 2014

'I had to call it the Yann Seznec Fan Club, because I’m basically a giant dork’

‘At its most basic, sound – whether it’s someone making music, or the act of speaking – is basically the physical movement of air. What we hear, is the motion of air molecules.’ To explain his latest project, Currents, Edinburgh-based sound artist…

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Counterpoint

15 Aug 20143 stars

Eclectic mixed-media works from eight contemporary artists

Waiting plays a big part in the Talbot Rice's compendium of eight relatively off-piste artists for their EAF show. Nowhere is this more evident than in Ellie Harrison's 'After The Revolution, Who Will Clean Up The Mess?', an installation of four…

Augustin Rebetez: Heart (Meteorite)

15 Aug 20143 stars

An enigmatic mixed-media installation from Swiss artist Augustin Rebetez

If this is hell, it’s a very playful corner of it. Somewhere deep in the bowels of Summerhall, Swiss artist Augustin Rebetez has taken over a room and transformed it with a multi-media exhibition which unnerves as much as it entrances. A wooden frame…

Dalziel + Scullion: Tumadh | Immersion

9 Aug 20144 stars

Experimental textiles encourage engagement with the natural world at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Within the relatively sterile dimensions of Dovecot Studios, there is a sense of the exterior, of wind in faces and rain in hair. The figures in the centre of the room are properly dressed for the kind of imagined inclement weather we might associate…

Paul Carter: Icaro Menippus (x2)

6 Aug 20144 stars

Intimate, mixed media works by the late artist, exhibited at Edinburgh Art Festival

Paul Carter was a lively participant in the art scene in Edinburgh when he tragically died in a car crash in 2006. A tutor at ECA, he was also on the board of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop as they began the fundraising process for their new premises at…

Nalini Malani brings immersive WWI installation to Edinburgh Art Festival 2014

4 Aug 2014

In Search of Vanished Blood will use the exterior walls of the Scottish National Gallery

The 4th of August marks 100 years since the outbreak of WWI. To commemorate this momentous occasion, LIGHTS OUT, a UK-wide event, has commissioned four leading international artists to articulate what war means to them. Nalini Malani, the first Asian…

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Jacqueline Donachie: Mary and Elizabeth

18 Aug 20143 stars

Subtle installation across Princes Street Gardens commissioned for the Edinburgh Art Festival

For those visiting Edinburgh during the Festival, Jacqueline Donachie’s red chalk lines, running from Cockenzie to the city centre, could easily be lost among the ubiquitous red of the Fringe stands. Seeking it out and starting at Elizabeth instead of…

Interview: artist Alessandro Massimo on new show I’ll Be Your Mirror

18 Aug 2014

Artworks exploring the ideas of borders, boundaries and citizenship at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Alessandro Massimo’s interest in geographical borders started when he was researching the Biala river in Poland: ‘observing how the history and geographical configuration of some regions of Poland have changed around this river began my interest in how…

Marie-Michelle Deschamps: Don’t trip over the wire!

17 Aug 20143 stars

An information overload undermines deliberately enigmatic work at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Marie-Michelle Deschamps’ Don’t trip over the wire! is the latest work produced for the Collective Gallery’s ‘Satellites Programme,’ a development programme for emergent artists in Scotland. Deschamps has produced a sound installation, which emanates…

Roses and Beans

7 Aug 20142 stars

Predictable Live Art act too pleased with itself to have a real purpose

Although it is difficult to define Live Art – it is roughly performance that shies away from theatrical cliches like scripts, acting and clear narratives – Shake It Collaborations present a handy compendium of its tropes. There is the social dancing…

Craig Coulthard: The Drummer and the Drone

5 Aug 20143 stars

An imaginative military film set in Scotland’s future, screening at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Under the darkened, vaulting ceiling of Trinity Apse, a few yards from the tartan-infested Royal Mile, the strain of bagpipes rings out. The sound echoes that of gift shop muzak and Highland dress buskers all the way up to the Esplanade, but the tone is…