Blog Archives

Life as a Cheap Suitcase (Pandrogeny & a Search for a Unified Identity)

This is the first British exhibition by influential avant-garde artists Genesis and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge since 2003, featuring the European premiere of major works from their Pandrogyne project. Featuring explicit images of the artists’ bodies, religious iconography and the British Royal Family, the works are often uncomfortable; challenging the status quo through their visceral, occasionally shocking nature. The artists promote an alternative lifestyle to the prescribed nuclear family, directly attacking conservative society’s smug self-belief in the ‘Big Society’ and its relationship to democracy in a Rennaissance inspired alchemical search for Divine perfection and evolutionary proposals for a Human(e) Species. Ultimately the work is traditional at its core, with the body as a central image and seeking transcendant visionary change towards a non-violent future for humankind.


Re-Sounding is a new work by American-born, London based artist Susan Hiller. Concerned with unearthing the forgotten or repressed, Hiller is one of the most influential British artists working today. This new video combines sound frequencies and visual patterns translated from radio waves emitted by the Big Bang with a series of eye-witness accounts of extra- terrestrial phenomena referencing cosmology, dreams and contemporary visionary experiences. Alongside Re-sounding will be other works by Hiller in her first solo Scottish exhibition for many years.

10, 20, 30 & 40%

At first sight, the work of Claude Closky is mainly immaterial. Language is his model to articulate images, text, numbers, and sounds collected in our environment, or made in his studio. Although reluctant to produce objects and spectacular effects, Closky’s work still addresses issues about visibility and space appropriation. Claude Closky’s projects always find alternative ways to emancipate themselves from the formats imposed by the sites where they are exhibited. He seeks to point out the contradictions of our contemporary society and its representations, but also to question the role of art as producer of a cultural consensus and set of values. His works confront and question our environment, the conditions and benefits of artistic production, its relation to an audience.

FAILE Bast Deluxx Fluxx Arcade Edinburgh 2014/ Vestige Board Paintings

Featuring interactive games designed for Art Basel Miami Beach 2013, FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade Edinburgh 2014 invites visitors to take a turn with specially programmed video games and pinball machines or play a round of psychedelic foosball. This Edinburgh installation marks the first ever showing by the artists in Scotland. In a second exhibition of large painterly works (created on printing boards but completed in situ at Summerhall) FAILE will exhibit an number of unique colourful abstracts for the first time anywhere in the world.

Mythical Homeland

Gary Baseman’s Mythical Homeland delves into the real and imagined histories of generations past, interpreting the Holocaust and its lasting effects on culture and identity. Drawings, paintings, and photographs and a short film documentary entitled Mythical Creatures are installed in a small birch tree forest, referencing the very environment into which Baseman’s father fled and survived among other freedom fighters during World War II. This is the Los Angeles artist’s first solo exhibition in the UK.


Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps are a collaborative duo who have been working since 2002 to produce art in response to the invasion of Iraq. Their practice has evolved to confront power and war across the globe. This August, they will perform DEMO TALK, an artists’ talk that transforms into a physical demonstration of the methods they use in making their visual cries of protest against corrupt power. DEMO TALK takes place in the War on War Room, a space where kennardphillipps’ posters, prints and assemblages form an installation of dissent.

Performance 1st August – 10th August at noon, Admission Free

Sybille II

Belgium artist Wim Delvoye’s video Sybille II is at first deceiving – an ochre, almost abstract, colour field slowly reveals a landscape of unusual features and, eventually, all too human physical processes which both attract and repel at the same time.

Western Front

Britain’s first official war artist, Muirhead Bone trained at Glasgow School of Art and was posted to France in 1916, arriving during the battle of the Somme.

Through hundreds of exquisite drawings made on the spot and distributed in Britain through popular prints, Bone conveyed the destruction of the western front and its effect upon the men who fought there. Once seen these evocative images are never forgotten.


This exhibition by political artist Tamsyn Challenger comprises elements of habitual performance, viral infiltration, a small farm, feminine identity and the impacts of social media; drawing parallels between historical modes of control and mass cultivation. These themes inform an installation that seeks to link earlier forms of human suppression by pseudo-sexual torture with cultural homogenisation on a global scale. The sculpture is highly coloured, using the trademark blues of Facebook and Twitter, and some of the objects are decorated with text taken from social networks.

Heart (Meteorite)

Swiss artist Augustin Rebetez has developed his own mysterious universe, in which images confront one another – abuzz with discordant interaction, harmonising through their anarchic quality. Heart (Meteorite) brings together strange monotonous beasts, ornate stop-motion videos and rapidly assembled humanoid sculptures, depicting the tragedy and comedy of Rebetez’s bittersweet universe. This is the artist’s first ever UK exhibition.


Antonio O’Connell is a Mexican installation artist and architect who creates extensions and intrusions into buildings using recycled materials and items from a building’s past. He is fascinated by the contrasting characteristics of architecture, exploring the dichotomy of function through the ephemerality of his structures. These structures reflect the reality of a contrasting world – where imagination is a luxury for some but a necessity for others. For this summer’s programme, O’Connell will create a major new work at the front of Summerhall, incorporating some of the former Vet School’s fixtures and fittings.

The Northernmost North

One of Iceland’s best-known contemporary artists, Birgir Andrésson’s work uses conceptual strategies to explore aspects of Icelandic culture and national identity. Raised in a home for the blind as the sighted child of blind parents, Andrésson was particularly attuned to the relationship between language and perception. With the four large painted works THE NORTHERNMOST NORTH/THE EASTERNMOST EAST/ THE SOUTHERNMOST SOUTH & THE WESTERNMOST WEST the boundaries of Summerhall will be marked by each relevant large painting – conceptually turning the entire building into an Andrésson work.

Dreaming of Heroic Days

This exhibition celebrates Caroline McNairn’s (1955-2010) year spent painting in Russia and Ukraine. This was the culmination of an historic cultural exchange between Scotland and the former USSR organised by Andrew Brown, director of Edinburgh’s 369 Gallery and Baroness Smith, then chairman of the GB-USSR-Friendship Society. McNairn’s painting was profoundly influenced by this cultural intercourse, describing her stay in Moscow as a love affair with the city and the resulting paintings, as the visual equivalent of love poems.

One of the paintings exhibited “In The Making” (now owned by the City Arts Centre), was exhibited in the ground-breaking exhibition of Scottish painting in Moscow in 1989. Many of the other paintings displayed reflect McNairn’s time with “The Kievsky Station Group” in the USSR – paintings which are in McNairn’s words “something beautiful for Russia”. They portray memories of the eclectic Moscow skyline – onion domes and Stalinist skyscrapers fractured by time, distance, and the confusion of post-communist disorder. Smaller, more intimate pastels and oils capture the dreamlike evocation of Kiev’s golden cathedral. This exhibition could not have come at a more appropriate time; for once again, as Russia and Ukraine step onto the World Stage, McNairn’s paintings become increasingly relevant.

Presented by Beyond Borders Scotland and supported by Friends of Caroline McNairn.

The Living Mountain

In a specially designed ‘record shop’ in the basement of the Church Gallery, graphic designer and vinyl record collector Todd will be spinning discs daily and allowing visitors to browse and buy LPs, audio cassettes and CDs of his own works and those of the many avant garde artists and musicians who have contributed to a resurgence in artist’s recordings as a major area of artistic practice.

Kings and Totems for Dolly, Sculpture and Prints

I am a lucky man because I was taught as a student by the likes of the Post Painterly Abstractionist Patrick Heron, the British Cubist Keith Vaughan, and the Master Etcher Norman Ackroyd. Although I have maintained printmaking, I became from the mid nineties forward, a sculptor. However, the colour filed painting of Heron has continued to find its way into my work as can be seen by the Totem to Dolly and the Three Kings, whilst the very act of cutting into form through cubism, continues to haunt me with its history.

Since 2000 I have been working with young South African artists and despite me being a “foreigner” they have been exhibiting me as an important influence on their work, which is for me praise of a very humbling nature, and even though I was at one time Education Officer for the Peacock Printmakers, I prefer to print in South Africa; despite the continuing societal problems of a post Apartheid world, and the devastation of HIV – which can be tracked in Venus Nevirapine (an HIV inhibitor drug), and the use of the print image “Three Dancers” as an AIDS Awareness billboard from approx 2003 to 2006 – there is an energy which I find invigorating. Meanwhile, the wheel in Wheel Cross comes from a bicycle the rest of which is built into a work held by the City of Durban art gallery and although like the Kings, the Wheel Cross marks religious overtones, they are in fact more concerned with historical cultural totems, which can be both personal and abstract; such as (in 1974) helping Richard Hamilton get one of the six edition Duchamp bicycle wheels across London, or etching from drawings made of my wife in 1984 in Durban in 2013, which had a print workshop naming them as “The Durban Madonna.” Or reading that in the 10th century there was a battle in north east Scotland in which three kings died and few know about it; or marking the sheep as a culturally influenced exercise through the science of cloning.

A DVD catalogue of the work of Alex Flett is available in the Summerhall shop.

Exhibition in a Pocket

An exhibition of small avant garde works entirely contained within Summerhall curator’s pockets – shown at coffee or wine tables at random during the Festival period.

444 Archives

444 Archives is an installation based on photographic artwork. As the title of the work indicates, 444 Archives is a collection of 444 photographs of 444 publicly registered repositories in the Greater London area. Each photograph is stored in one of the 444 archival boxes that make up the work. Each image is preserved inside the box and is thereby kept ‘alive’ for the future. At the same time, it is also negated in its visibility both as image and photographic artefact.

Making Time

Darboven was one of the most important of the original conceptual artists – after her move to NYC she met Sol Le Witt and others in the movement and began to create drawings on lined paper that repeated a letter-form pattern and that rhythmically represented the passing of time. Her work then developed to include mathematical structures based on the addition and subtraction of the numbers found in dates and eventually to create music based on those number-relationships. This small exhibition, taken from the Heart Fine Art archive, includes prints, drawings, audio works, artists books and ephemera and surveys the artist’s entire career.

Large Things of Different Shapes and Colours

Artists Kevin Harman, Tim Sandys, Louise Gibson, Kenny Watson, Steve Earl Weber and Shane Jezowski and others will be exhibiting large neon and sculptural works throughout Summerhall as part of a curated show of such works including newly commissioned works.

Phenotype Genotype

Over 400 works spanning over 100 years of artistic endeavour from Futurism to Street Art along with historical, scientific and political documents from the same periods placing art in the context of a wider culture. PhG is a permanent but annually changed exhibition from the Summerhall-based Heart Fine Art archive of avant garde art.

Demarco Archive

A selection of specially curated and selected exhibitions by Richard Demarco.