Edinburgh Art Festival

One of the most extensive and spectacular attractions during the festival promises to be Beyond the Palace Walls at the Royal Museum of Scotland on Chambers St.

Feature by Lucy Faringold | 14 Aug 2006

Building on its success over the past two years, the 2006 Edinburgh Art Festival is a huge showcase of local, national and international talent, and the line-up of artists involved this year is positively mouth-watering.

Throughout August Stills gallery on Cockburn Street will serve as the central information Station for the festival. Dedicated front of house staff will be happy to provide information, flyers and catalogues from all the affiliated galleries and you will be able to plan a customised stroll through the city's arts venues using the maps provided. Free broadband and wi-fi is also available and Graham Domke of Inverleith house will be curating a programme of talks related to the shows in the festival. Make it your first stop on the festival trail this year.

The late Robert Mapplethorpe is one of the festival's big names, and photography-lovers can enjoy a retrospective of his work at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art which will run until November 5. Mapplethorpe's interest in homoerotic imagery and S&M (self-portrait with Bullwhip in Anus, anyone?) caused massive controversy in the 80s, but this, his first ever retrospective in Scotland, will shed light on all aspects of his practice.

The RSA building also houses a wealth of attractions this month. As well as Adam Elsheimer (see review) and Ron Mueck (see preview) Laura ford's show, entitled 'Armour Boys' will run from Aug 12 to Sep 10. Developed from her interest in the armoury displays at Fyvie Castle, and inspired by newsreel footage from Iraq these are deeply emotive sculptural works about our propensity towards death and violence and the sorrow of lost potential.

Scottish art is also represented by a major exhibition by photojournalist Harry Benson. In his documentation of crucial political events and his witty and intimate images of celebrities, Benson's lens has shaped how we perceive the world around us. Also on a Scottish tip, Moyna Flannigan's new portraits at Doggerfisher are compulsive and unnerving; slapstick but incisive. Definitely worth a look. Runs from August 4 to September 30.

Cheeky Glasgow-based provocateur David Shrigley will display a show of recent prints at Edinburgh Printmakers until September 16. Shrigley and his work seem to have been ubiquitous of late, but his humorous and absurd images are always a good talking point. Over at the Fruitmarket Marijke van Warmerdam will be installing a show featuring photographs, sculpture and two new films. Judging on past evidence this will be a witty, surprising and engaging show. Definitely one to check out.

Back at Stills Gallery again, and Tracey Moffat presents a show entitled Adventures, in which she orchestrates familiar and stereotypical images, using the lexicon of popular culture to create bizarre post-modern narratives. Moffat also takes our thirst for instant gratification to its zenith by cutting and pasting scenes from Hollywood melodramas into a quick-fire orgy of sensation and stimuli. If that sounds a little too rich then you can always kick back with the Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art Nouveau Poster exhibition at the City Art Centre. Featuring 15 of the most famous works by the 'soul of Montmarte' this is going to be a cracker.

One of the most extensive and spectacular attractions during the festival promises to be Beyond the Palace Walls at the Royal Museum of Scotland on Chambers St. Celebrating the beauty of Islamic art, it will feature over 200 exhibits from as far afield as China and Egypt and will include textiles, embroideries, glass, metalwork and jewellery. This should be very special indeed.

Of course, this is just a smattering of the shows that will be open during the festival. See our listings for full details or visit www.edinburghartfestival.com.