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New Work, New Talent, New Spaces, New Events at Edinburgh Art Festival
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: The Killing Machine, 2007. Courtesy of the artists.

EDINBURGH.- The Edinburgh Art Festival may be the newcomer on the block, but as the details of its fifth edition unveiled today demonstrate, it has unquestionably become established as a major player in the capital’s summer events programme.

The 2008 EAF programme brings together a diversity of talent from internationally renowned artists to upand-coming-collectives, showcasing the depth and strength of the visual arts in Edinburgh. This year sees over 50 exhibitions spanning public and private galleries, long-established spaces, new galleries and recently formed groups, and over 120 associated events. 2008 also sees the Festival spread out from the city centre to both Portobello, with the continued participation of Big Things in the Beach, and Musselburgh where Eskmills shows work for the first time. Alongside the exhibitions the EAF once again offers a month of events – artists’ talks, screenings, debates, tours and family projects - with StickerCurator, and an expanded Art Late (28 August) among the highlights.

“Creating a focus for the visual arts during Festival time was the motivating force behind the galleries’ desire to establish an annual Art Festival,” says Tessa Jackson, Chair of the EAF Board. “Now five years after the inaugural event the Edinburgh Art Festival can truly be said to have come of age as an increasing number of the city’s galleries commission and curate exhibitions specially for the Festival, and the programme of associated events attracts an ever larger and broader audience.”

“It is no secret that Edinburgh has a vibrant visual arts community,” adds Joanne Brown, Director of the Edinburgh Art Festival. “”The EAF is a catalyst for the development of new and exciting work, showcasing the full range of the cites galleries and artists at a time when the eyes of the world are on Edinburgh. This year features new work by leading international artists, new galleries – some participating in the Festival for the first time and others, like the new Ingleby Gallery, Dovecot and Eskmills opening during the EAF- work from an new generation of Edinburgh-based talent, and new additions to the popular events programme.”

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at the Scottish Arts Council said: ‘The Scottish Arts Council is delighted to be supporting this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival which provides the opportunity for audiences in the City and visitors alike to experience a wide range of high quality, exciting exhibitions and events featuring work from some of the world’s most imaginative visual artists.’

Solo shows and surveys of work by internationally acclaimed artists.

Headlining the 2008 Edinburgh Art Festival is a series of major surveys including a Tracey Emin 20-year retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; celebrated Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller at the Fruitmarket Gallery; Alexander Heim at Doggerfisher; Andrew Grassie paintings at Talbot Rice Gallery; Richard Hamilton Protest Pictures at Inverleith House; Elizabeth Blackadder at the Scottish Gallery; Chad McCail at Edinburgh Print Makers, and Richard Wilson at The Grey Gallery (once again in temporary residence in a derelict warehouse). Kay Rosen and Susan Collis, will be featured in the new Ingleby Gallery, the largest private gallery outside London, with Mark Wallinger the first featured artist in Ingleby’s Billboard for Edinburgh project. Frances Richardson returns to the Corn Exchange Gallery, Ian Healy shows at Attic Salt, Japanese artist Takaya Fujii, in collaboration with poet Gerry Loose, will show at Scottish Poetry Library, Pavel Buchler is at Sleeper, Emily Young at Bourne Fine Art and Martha Rosler shows at Stills. Meanwhile Jane Frere shows work inspired by a residency in East Jerusalem at Patriothall Gallery at WASPS.

Fascinating selection of Group Shows

Alongside Collective’s annual show, many of the exhibitions presented in spaces participating in the EAF for the first time this year will also feature work by groups of artists. The Golden Record, Sounds of the Earth at Collective will feature the records included with the two Voyager spacecraft; Mutatis Mutandis at Embassy showcases work that moves between performance installation, photography, video and painting; Eskimo at Eskmills in Musselburgh sees fourteen artists - ranging from the emergent to the internationally renowned -responding to this new gallery space, a former industrial fishing net factory; work by Marion Preez, Keith Winter, Dongfang Gao and Daniel Smernicki will be shown in c a m e r a - the “small chamber” - a new exhibition space at the entrance to the Museum of Edinburgh ; the new Edinburgh artist-run initiative, echo, offers an exhibition on the (sibling) rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow - each of the five featured artists has chosen an artist based in Glasgow to either collaborate with or to submit work for the show; and throughout the Edinburgh Art Festival TotalKunst - an open access, artist led initiative run by the Forest visual arts working group. - will be holding a variety of exhibitions and events in celebration of the creative spirit of the Edinburgh summertime.

The Public Realm as gallery
Once again the EAF spreads out of the gallery space into the public realm. In Portobello alongside a number of works on the Promenade, Big Things on the Beach will be presenting the Garden Gallery which sees artists locating a series of works in the gardens of private houses; recent GSA sculpture student Ric Warren will show work in Charlotte Square in a collaboration between EAF and the International Book Festival; Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop will show work in the gardens surrounding the workshops; Advocates’ Close will become the focus of a series of works as part of Edinburgh Close Up and watch out for video art appearing unsolicited across the city in Boris Eldagsen’s “spam: the musical” . Meanwhile a derelict building in the city will be transformed spectacularly in Ettie Spencer’s Tobacco House.

Walks, talks, tours and events

The events programme developed to animate and interrogate the exhibitions this year includes four specialist tours led by the art historian, Lucy Gallwey, each of which visits a number of shows; an introduction to collecting by the Scottish Arts Council in collaboration with Doggerfisher; debates including one led by Jane Frere taking her East Jerusalem residency as its starting point, and an expanded number of artists’ talks including Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Tracey Emin, Andrew Grassie, Richard Hamilton, Kay Rosen, Ettie Spencer, Richard Wilson and more. Meanwhile the ever-popular trips to Little Sparta are once again on offer this year and the Annuale lends its emphasis to further galvanizing the city’s disparate collectives with a series of salons, artist talks and a symposium highlighting the context of Edinburgh and its complex relationship with contemporary art..

Returning to EAF in 2008, following the successful pilot scheme last year is ART LATE. Taking place simultaneously in at least 12 galleries (including private and public, large and small) on the evening of 28 August, Art Late 2008 sees an expanded programme of events in the galleries with guest Djs, comedy, poetry and more. Further details will be released in the near future

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