Grayson Perry / credit: Katie Hyams and Living Architecture
Highlights include Grayson Perry's first major solo Scottish exhibition, world premieres of new work from international artists and major survey shows and retrospectives
Now in its 16th year, Edinburgh Art Festival is the largest platform for visual arts in the capital and always boasts an impressive programme. It runs alongside Edinburgh's internationally-renowned August festivals, and will take place from 25 Jul–25 Aug 2019. This year's programme will offer everything from premieres of new works commissioned for the festival, to retrospectives of highly-acclaimed international artists, all of which will take place in exciting spaces and established venues across the city. This year, Edinburgh Printmakers and Collective will host their first festival exhibitions, after transforming historical spaces into year-round centres for contemporary art. Here are some of the highlights from the first wave of announcements.
The University of Edinburgh's Talbot Rice Gallery presents Real Music, a multi-media exploration of orchestral performance, cultural appropriation and social and musical histories by Hong Kong artist and composer Samson Young. The university's programme extends to venues within Edinburgh College of Art itself, where you can see artist and filmmaker Yulia Kovanova's reconsideration of spatial and perceptual boundaries Grey to Blue, and artist duo Yokollection (Alexa Hare and Francesco Nobilucci) present a video pilgrimage to the site of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1969 car crash in Durness, titled Double Disaster (Closing Down), exploring themes of death, sexuality, fetishism and fandom.
Another artist who is exhibiting in Scotland for the first time is Grayson Perry. Dovecot Studios presents GRAYSON PERRY: Julie Cope's Grand Tour; a celebration of how Perry has championed of tapestry as a medium, which he has successfully brought to the forefront of contemporary art and pop culture. This will be the final chance to see the exhibition on its 'grand tour'.
Site-specificity is integral to the commissioned works for this year's festival, with Lucy Wayman creating her first major outdoor commission for the cycle path between Newhaven and the city centre, near Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. In addition, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop has invited French artist Caroline Achaintre – known for her metal, ceramic and textile sculptures – to make work for their outdoor courtyard, whilst Portuguese sculptor Joanna Vasconcelos has created an impressive new addition to Jupiter Artland's landscape in Gateway.
The city's National Galleries offer an exciting programme for this year's festival, including works by 2003 Turner Prize nominee Anya Gallaccio at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, a major retrospective of op-art pioneer Bridget Riley at the RSA on Princes Street, along with the adjacent National Galleries presenting Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage; the first survey exhibition of collage ever to take place anywhere in the world, which will showcase a major group of Dada and Surrealist collages by artists such as Kurt Schwitters, Joan Miró, Hannah Höch and Max Ernst, and major post-war works by Henri Matisse, Robert Rauschenberg, and Peter Blake.
Revolutionary photography is a recurring theme throughout the programme, with Stills Centre for Photography exhibiting early works by Cindy Sherman, whilst the Scottish National Portrait Gallery presents photography by Francesca Woodman, Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe, alongside another show, The Long Look; a collaboration between the painter Audrey Grant and the photographer and printmaker Norman McBeath, which explores the relationship between artist and sitter beyond conventional notions of portraiture.
All of this is just a taste of what Edinburgh Art Festival have in store for their 2019 edition, as the complete programme will continue to be unveiled over the coming months, including details of their events which are always complementary to the exhibitions, making the festival a fully immersive celebration of the visual arts.
Edinburgh Art Festival runs from Thu 25 Jul–Sun 25 Aug.
Scotland's largest annual celebration of visual art offers work by the best contemporary Scottish artists as well as exhibitions of the most important international artists and movements of the 20th century and other historical periods.