Highlights from the Edinburgh Art Festival

By Emma Hollaway

Published 23 July 2014

With Edinburgh's galleries and museums playing host to over 45 exhibitions this summer, here are our top picks of what not to miss.

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RA Magazine

Emma Hollaway

  • Katie Paterson: Ideas

    Ingleby Gallery (27 June – 27 September) and Jupiter Artland (17 July – 28 September)
    In her first major solo exhibition in Scotland, Katie Paterson presents works made from fossils, moon rock and even meteorites. On show concurrently at sculpture park Jupiter Artland is her 2008 work Earth-Moon-Earth, where Paterson radio transmits Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ to the moon and the bounced-back ‘moon-altered’ transmission is played on a piano.

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    Commissioned by Locus+. A fragment of the lunar meteorite, couriered round the earth for one year.

    Katie Paterson, Second Moon, 2013-14.

    Image from Second Moon App. Image © Locus+ Archive / Katie Paterson / Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh.

  • Ming: The Golden Empire

    National Museum of Scotland (27 June – 19 October)
    A wealth of objects from the Nanjing Museum, China, join pieces from the National Museum’s own collection to showcase the achievements of an Empire that spanned 276 years and embodied the greatest achievements of Chinese culture. Read our blog about the show for a more in depth review.

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    Official kiln. Blue and white porcelain vase with flower design.

    © Nanjing Museum / Nomad Exhibitions.

  • GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland

    Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (28 June–2 November 2014)
    Across Scotland a landmark series of exhibitions – ‘GENERATION’ – celebrates the last quarter-century of Scottish art. Edinburgh’s National Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art and the Portrait Gallery present over 30 artists, including David Shrigley, Victoria Moron and Douglas Gordon whose acclaimed film 24 Hour Psycho (1993) is on view.

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    Karla Black, Story of a Sensible Length, 2014.

    Polythene, plaster powder, powder paint and thread. Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne.

  • Jim Lambie

    Fruitmarket Gallery (27 June – 19 October)
    This major retrospective, part of the overarching ‘GENERATION’ presentation, traces the development of Jim Lambie’s colourful works that transform everything from mirrors, ladders, coat hangers and plastic bags into installations and sculptures.

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    Installation View of Jim Lambie at The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2014.

    Photography by Ruth Clark. Courtesy of The Fruitmarket Gallery.

  • American Impressionism

    Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (19 July - 19 October)
    See Impressionism in a new light in this exhibition that records the discovery of and responses to iconic French painters by 19th-century American artists, including Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent.

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    Frank Weston Benson, Eleanor, 1901.

    Oil on canvas. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design.

  • Collective: Observers’ Walks

    A series of downloadable artist-made audio guides help festival-goers explore Calton Hill, which famously features Lord Elgin’s unfinished replica of the Acropolis, intended to turn the city into ‘the Athens of the North’.

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    Observers’ Walks

    Tris Vonna-Michell, Source material, 2013.

    Courtesy the artist and Collective, Edinburgh.

  • John Ruskin: Artist and Observer

    Scottish National Portrait Gallery (4 July – 28 September)
    An exhibition reveals Ruskin’s little-known talents as a draughtsman and watercolour painter, and which pays tribute to the great art critic’s relationship with Scotland.

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    John Ruskin, Mountain Rock and Alpine Rose, 1844-49.

    Black ink, chalk, watercolour and bodycolour on white paper. 29.8 x 41.4 cm. Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, University of Lancaster).

  • Isa Genzken

    Inverleith House (19 July – 28 September)
    Combining collage, photography and found objects, the bright and playful sculptural assemblages of German artist Isa Genzhen are juxtaposed with the 18th-century interiors of Inverleith House, overlooking the Royal Botanic Garden.

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    Isa Genzken, Untitled, 2012.

    One child mannequin and mixed media. Installation dimensions variable. Copyright Isa Genzken. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin. Photo: Alex Delfanne.

  • Alt-W – New Media Scotland

    Evolution House (31 July – 30 August)
    Commissioned by the Alt-W Fund, which supports artistic innovation in new media, this exhibition shows new works by Scottish artists, ranging from a vision of the world in miniature by Hadi Mehrpouya and Robert Powell to a 360º video hologram by Chris Helson and Sarah Jackets.

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    Donna Leishman, Front.

    Courtesy of the artist.

  • Urban/Suburban

    City Art Centre (1 August – 19 October) Appropriately for a city with the architectural heritage of Edinburgh, the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland shows recent works in a wide variety of media that explore the built environment.

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    Carol Rhodes, Town, 2005.

    Courtesy of the artist and City Art Centre, Edinburgh Museums and Galleries.

  • Emma Hollaway is a contributor to RA Magazine.

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