Work by Nathan Coley
Work by Nathan Coley

Art festival is ready to be put in the picture

Edinburgh Art Festival has revealed new projects specially commissioned for this year’s event.

These new projects join the previously unveiled exhibitions programme as part of the 16th edition of Edinburgh Art Festival.

Bringing together the capital’s leading galleries, museums and artist run spaces and featuring internationally established names alongside emergent talent from Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond, Edinburgh Art Festival is a hugely diverse and engaging city-wide celebration of the very best in visual art.

The Commissions Programme each year supports Scottish and international artists to create ambitious new work specifically for the Festival. With a focus on taking work out of formal gallery settings and into public spaces, as well as building collaborations with Festival partners, the programme invites artists into conversation with the city, often offering rare public access to important historic buildings, and always engaging local residents and international visitors alike in citywide debates around wider social issues.

The 2019 Commissions Programme looks to storytelling as one of the fundamental ways in which we make sense of the world around us and imagine new futures.

Work by Nathan Coley

Reflecting on the mood of uncertainty predominating UK politics as well as the dramatic upheavals in longstanding geopolitical axes across the globe, Stories for an Uncertain World invites perspectives from five leading contemporary artists working across a wide range of media, from light installation through to performance and film.

Internationally acclaimed artists Nathan Coley, Alfredo Jaar, Rosalind Nashashibi, Sriwhana Spong and Corin Sworn present new projects at sites across the city, including Parliament Hall, home to the Scottish Parliament prior to the 1707 Act of Union; Edinburgh’s ‘Bridge of Sighs’, the structure linking Festival partner galleries National Museum of Scotland and Talbot Rice Gallery; St Bernard’s Well, an eighteenth century neo-classical temple designed by the painter Alexander Nasmyth; and Edinburgh College of Art’s newly re-opened sculpture court.

Platform: 2019 will support four artists based in Scotland and at the start of their careers to make and present new work. Housed in The Fire Station at Edinburgh College of Art, this year’s group exhibition, selected by award-winning artists Monster Chetwynd and Toby Paterson, brings together new work by Anna Danielewicz, Joanne Dawson, Harry Maberly and Suds McKenna.

The Future is Inside Us, It’s not Somewhere Else is a major new project by 2007 Turner Prize shortlisted, Glasgow-based artist Nathan Coley, devised for the uniquely historic space of Edinburgh’s Parliament Hall, and inspired by the idealised views of a new world – as imagined by the old world of Europe – which appear on French 19th century hand printed wallpaper.

New York-based Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar will present a public intervention which takes its title I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On from the closing words of Samuel Beckett’s novel The Unnamable. A large-scale neon sign quoting Beckett’s text is to be installed on Edinburgh’s Bridge of Sighs, which spans West College Street, and will be accompanied by a series of live interventions which spread the text through the streets of Edinburgh over the course of the Festival.

A new two-part film by Glasgow School of Art graduate and 2017 Turner Prize shortlisted Rosalind Nashashibi (titled Part One: Where there is a joyous mood, there a comrade will appear to share a glass of wine and Part Two: The moon nearly at the full. The team horse goes astray.) is inspired by a short story by the sci-fi writer Ursula K. Le Guin. The Shobies Story (1990) follows a group of individuals as they come together in preparation for a journey to a distant planet using a new faster-than-light mode of space travel. The film will be shown at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Modern One.

Canadian, Glasgow-based artist Corin Sworn brings together sculpture, performance and film in a new installation specially devised for Edinburgh College of Art’s newly re-opened sculpture court. Habits of Assembly explores how technology is fundamentally affecting the way we as humans experience our interior domestic worlds, as much as the external world around us.

Corin Sworn

Sriwhana Spong is a New Zealand artist, currently living and working in London, whose work often explores the relationship between the body and language. Her new film castle-crystal centres on the writings of the 16th century mystic St Teresa of Avila (the subject of feminist Julia Kristeva’s novel Teresa: My Love), whose book The Interior Castle imagines a fictional space, a castle-crystal, that Teresa roams as she explores, through writing, her spiritual journey. Spong is interested in how Teresa’s imaginary castle creates a free space for the imagination and discourse and offers an architecture in which women have the authority to speak.

Platform: 2019 provides a dedicated showcase at Edinburgh Art Festival for Scotland-based artists at the beginning of their careers. Each year participants are selected by a panel including artists who have been previously commissioned by the Festival, following a Scotland-wide open call.

Presented in The Fire Station at Edinburgh College of Art, the Platform: 2019 artists Anna Danielewicz, Joanne Dawson, Harry Maberly and Suds McKenna, were selected from an open call by renowned artists Monster Chetwynd, Toby Paterson and Edinburgh Art Festival Director, Sorcha Carey.

As well as being supported to make and present new work as part of the Festival, the selected artists will also be supported through a mentoring scheme.

Sorcha Carey, director of Edinburgh Art Festival, said: ‘We are delighted to announce further programme details today of our 2019 edition, including the artists in this year’s Commissions Programme.

‘United by a shared interest in language and storytelling, the artists participating in Stories for an Uncertain World look to the past as well as to imagined futures, to uncover stories which speak to us in the precarious present. The thematic finds echoes too in Platform: 2019, bringing together a new generation of artists based in Scotland with works which use fiction and humour to explore issues ranging from embellishment and identity; to sustainability and fandom.’

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