Ten for ten: Edinburgh Art Festival unveils ten new public art commissions

By Jenni Davidson | 23 May 2013

Festival preview: Edinburgh Art Festival, various venues, Edinburgh, August 1 - September 1 2013

A photograph of a white flag with the word hello on it
Peter Liversidge, Flag (2012)© Peter Liversidge
Ten new site-specific artworks will pop up in unexpected places across Edinburgh this August to celebrate the tenth Edinburgh Art Festival.

The commissions, by a mixture of Scottish and international artists, will appear everywhere from historic buildings to the city’s iconic skyline.

Edinburgh Art Festival and the Scottish Parliament building share an August 2004 birth month. And a noticeable common thread running through all of this year’s works is an interrogation of Scotland’s past and future identity.

Parley, the theme for this year's commissions, in fact derives from the Scottish Parliament architects’ desire to create "a form for gathering people" rather than “a building in a park or garden". Each piece aims to generate discussion and debate.

Robert Montgomery will set the festival literally and metaphorically alight with his Edinburgh Fire Poem, a sculptural poem created in oak, inspired by Scotland’s history of rebellion and exile as well as its traditional fire festivals.

The poem will be burned at dusk on August 1 2013 on The Mound, marking the opening of the festival.

Peter Liversidge is encouraging conversation in Flags for Edinburgh by asking anyone with a flagpole to fly a white flag with the word HELLO on it.

Twenty-five flag bearers have already been confirmed including Canongate Kirk, the City Chambers, Edinburgh University and the National Galleries of Scotland.

Daniel Padden and Peter Nicholson are inviting residents and visitors to get it all off their chests with the Edinburgh Complaints Choir. The choir will perform at different public sites throughout the festival. Hymn of the trams, anyone?

Ross Sinclair’s Real Life and how to Live it in Auld Reekie questions the concept of Scottishness through a series of graphic works which will be distributed across the city, while Kenny Watson visually summarises a year in Edinburgh through 365 days of Edinburgh Evening News bill posters in The Days and Fascia.

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