ONE of the oldest surviving buildings in Edinburgh is set to be turned into a new venue for this year’s summer festivals season in the capital as part of a month-long visual arts extravaganza.
Trinity Apse, a spectacular gothic kirk just off the Royal Mile, which dates back to the 15th century, will become home to a giant art installation in August.
It is expected to be one of the highlights of the Edinburgh Art Festival, which takes in major exhibitions on the life of Mary Queen of Scots, the avante-garde artist Man Ray, a century of fashion photography, and how artists have portrayed withcraft over the years.
Artist Sarah Kenchington will be collecting more than 100 decommissioned organ pipes from across the UK for her installation at Trinity Apse, which itself was rebuilt brick by brick after being demolished on its previous home on Calton Road.
The Trinity Apse installation will be one of several special commissions for the festival to help mark its 10th anniversary.
Others include the creation of a huge 1.3 “stone library” which will be installed at the National Museum of Scotland as part of artist Ilana Halperin’s exploration of time through fossils, minerals and geological sculptures.
Dozens of institutions across the city agreeing to replace their normal flags with a united welcome in the form of a white flag bearing the word “hello.” Artist Peter Liversidge, who is renowned for beginning his work with a hand-typed proposal, wants hundreds of people across the city to join in a “collective and universal greeting.”
Another project, The Complaints Choir, will invite the people of Edinburgh to “come together and sing their complaints out loud.”
Meanwhile John Byrne, Alasdair Gray and Alan Davie are among the leading Scottish artists who have worked on new hand-tufted rugs which will be going on display at the Dovecot Centre.
The Fruitmarket Gallery has lined up a major showcase of the work of Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, while Summerhall will be screening Michael Nyman’s remake of the Russian film avant-garde Man With A Movie Camera, along with the 1929 original. Inverleith House will be celebrating the career of Austrian artist Franz West, who died last year.
Previously announced exhibitions on witchcraft at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Mary Queen of Scots at the National Museum of Scotland and 100 years of fashion photography drawn from Conde Nast’s archives will also be part of the Edinburgh Art Festival programme.
Festival director Sorcha Carey said: “For our 10th year we’re delighted to introduce our strongest programme yet, featuring the best in contemporary, modern and historic art in galleries across the capital.
“Our most ambitious commissions programme to date will continue to bring significant new works by leading visual artists to the heart of the festival city.”
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Edinburgh Art Festival is firmly established as a vital component in the success of Edinburgh’s wider festival programme, celebrating some of the very best visual art from Scotland and around the world, and promoting our fantastic culture, exceptional talent and our reputation as a creative nation to audiences from around the globe.”
Edinburgh Art Festival runs from 1 August to 1 September.