Witchcraft theme for Edinburgh Art Festival

John Raphael Smith's Three Weird Sisters
John Raphael Smith's Three Weird Sisters
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VISIONS of witches and witchcraft are set to cast their spell at this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF).

The tenth annual programme includes dozens of the best UK and international exhibitions across 30 museums and galleries.

Organisers have vowed to put on “the most ambitious programme of new commissions to date”.

Witches and Wicked Bodies, a major exhibition featuring works by the likes of Francisco de Goya and William Blake, is to be held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

The exhibition, which includes loans from the British Museum, Tate and Victoria and Albert Museum, will feature 16th and 17th century prints and drawings.

Modern works included in the show will challenge the myths of witchcraft and negative representations of 
women.

At the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the first major museum retrospective of photographic portraits by Man Ray will open, charting the influential artist’s career in the United States and Paris between 1916 and 1968.

Original prints from the Condé Nast archives will also be on show, featuring the work of more than 80 of the biggest names in fashion photography – including Helmut Newton, David Bailey and Mario Testino – at the outset of their prolific careers.

A special Edinburgh edition of the Complaints Choir – a worldwide project which will see Capital residents come together to sing their complaints out loud – is also planned.

Sorcha Carey, director of the EAF, said: “Our commissions programme is intended to bring the festival offering out into the streets, to allow residents and visitors alike to experience the very best established and emerging contemporary practitioners.”

She added: “Newly commissioned work that has been made exclusively for the festival and our city ensures that visitors, whether this is your first EAF or your tenth, will always have a different experience
of and perspective on art and the city.”

The full list of artists and designers taking part in the festival will be announced next month.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, the city’s festivals and events champion, said: “The EAF has delivered another fantastic and diverse programme for 2013, which includes exciting new artworks for public spaces in the Capital.

“Year on year, EAF brings the very best in the visual arts from across the globe to Edinburgh, greatly enhancing the city’s excellent reputation as the world’s festival city.”

Collaborative work

AMONG this year’s commissions is a major collaborative project between 1997 Turner Prize nominee Christine Borland and New York artist Brody Condon, whose performance-based works, often focusing on trauma and fantasy, have been staged across the US.

Poet-artist Robert Montgomery will create a site-specific sculpture for the city – the first major installation of his work in Scotland – while Peter Liversidge will invite city institutions to replace their corporate flags with a design simply bearing the word ‘hello’.