Sunday, 16 August 2009

back in edinburgh

so, just, we make it thru to edinburgh for our annual pilgrimage to the festival of art - yes i know there's that other festival going on but all we have time for is to look at the pictures, walk about, a bit of a trip down memory lane for me and that's about it.

we try to make some excuses, maybe it's the fact we're not long back from europe but we start underwhelmed. maybe because we're at the modern and they have some truly dreadful captionry on the wall, i notice this a) because t has a big ass rant about it and b) i'm too undistracted to let my attention be fixated elsewhere.

not that it's all bad even if it does include a healthy dose of damien hirst and while, each to their own and all that but really, is it just me or is he really crushingly unimaginative. i look at pillboxes, plastic anatomical things, bony fish and it's like being back at work/college/university. and he has none of these skills. conceptual? or cock? the viewer is the judge

which is one thing we do rather like. along with being annoyed at those tory microcephali who've been lambasting the nhs this week we're annoyed that the british public seem to take their free admission to galleries etc so for granted. the free bus has gone! a shame, i can see the reason for it, but a shame nonetheless.

not that it's all bad, even if we find more of interest in the allotments at the dean, lee mingwei's letter writing project (also at the dean), a ghostly box, populated by letters written by the viewers/visitors is both serene and moving. i spend some time in it and find it rather lovely. not so t. unsurprisingly there are letters to dead relatives and the like which is all a bit much for her and a rather large blub ensues. i feel a bit guilty about this as i should've anticipated it but then i notice the 'what a bastard' looks i'm drawing from the other attendees. super.

we try and go and see some figurative stuff at the russian place but it's shut. annoying. and not least because (and it maybe we missed something in the programme) i think representational artists get a bit of a bad deal out of this year's offerings. good for me maybe but maybe not so much for others.

there is much vidiocy.

all is redeemed when we go to the national and see their summer thing about british artists response to spain and a really quite excellent exhibition of drawings entitled from raphael to renoir. both of us prefer the latter tho the main event is good, if a bit crowded. i like the layout of it, the variety of pieces even if it's a bit crowded and it's certainly better than what i'd read about it previously

we wobble onwards and end up in the fruitmarket to see eva hesse. we're well taken by it, all strangely visceral, umbilici hanging from the walls, odd materials. as a bonus we come upon christopher marley and are filled with colour. then off for a book buy at beyond words where the french guy is very helpful and personable.

all in all maybe not the best year but nice to be wandering about. i was disappointed the princes street gardens preview stage is gone, like the free bus, no doubt due to cuts, but i think it's a bit of a loss. the high street is more of a zoo than ever. i can't see much in the way of organisation, the flyer people are woeful and aside from a couple of japanese people, the place is awash with posh kids striking poses and wanting to be looked at. maybe it was always so but equally i've usually found something interesting i wanted to go and watch/see. plus, given edinburgh's draconian stall licensing and peforming regulations it's maybe no surprise there's less diversity in the public spaces.

except of course for australian jugglers. come the last days, aside from some cockroaches you can be sure that somewhere some antipodean type is balancing an umbrella on his head while juggling a flaming toilet seat. time, disaster, the credit crunch, these people will never be dimmed.


Anonymous said...


Titus said...

Thanks. I'm not a million miles away but I've never been, and I really enjoyed this post.
Was with you on vidiocy (great coinage, if it's yours) until I saw one at the Wellcome Collection - a kind of stop-motion animation of items in the Henry Wellcome collection. It actually said something.

Sorlil said...

oh I forgot about the spain exhibition at the national, really want to go see it.

swiss said...

i'm sure i can't be the only one to use the term vidiocy but if i am i claim the rights to it and those who make such stuff, the vidiots.

i have seen one piece of vidiocy i liked, in finland i think but other than that orecious little. i used to take my daughter round the galleries when she was wee and she was much more into it than me.

as i say, spain is worthwhile but try and make it on a quiet bit of the day. you can get a dual ticket with the drawing thing for a tenner.

swiss said...

orecious? now that should be a word!

Rachel Fox said...

We're Edinburgh bound this weekend (more for young 'un than us). I planned to head for galleries when possible so your verdicts may save me some time (I won't have much to spare!).

Titus said...

I thought it was and you were just cleverer than me.

Sorlil said...

have you shut down the elvis??

swiss said...

not so much shut down as suspended it for a bit. i'm feeling a bit burnt out at the minute and have elvis still active is reminding me of the pile of work i still have to do as well as the fact i'm not in the mood for doing any more