30 July – 30 August

Our twelfth edition of the festival presented 41 exhibitions at 28 venues across the city, 6 special pop up events including several organised by artists and organisations from outwith Edinburgh, a new exhibition platform dedicated to early career artists, and 7 new works conceived for the Festival by Scottish and international artists under the theme of the Improbable City.

“There is always something to discover amid the cacophony of shows, and this year is no exception.” 
Karen Wright, The Independent 

View the Festival Guide:

View the Festival Map:

Commissions Programme

The Improbable City 

Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities takes the form of an imagined conversation between Marco Polo and the Kublai Khan, in which the famous explorer describes to the world-weary emperor a succession of fantastical cities he has visited on his travels. As it dawns on the Khan that the cities Polo describes are almost certainly entirely imaginary, Polo acknowledges the struggle which lies at the heart of his model, his need to balance ‘exceptions, exclusions, incongruities, contradictions’ with the probable, to avoid achieving ‘cities too probable to be real’.

The Improbable City brought together the work of seven artists, each of whom, in very different ways, offer an encounter with worlds or spaces at the limits of the probable; spaces which, like Polo’s imaginary cities, find their reality precisely through embracing the incongruous and contradictory. Worlds which are distinctly ‘other’, yet sit in close relation to our own; isolated, self-contained, but also, crucially, permeable.

Situated principally in public spaces, the commissions found a suitably improbable context in Edinburgh, a city once described by Robert Louis Stevenson as a ‘dream in living masonry’, and which once a year, gives over its entirety to an intense exploration of the ‘other’ in all its forms.

Participating Artists:

Charles Avery: Tree no.5 (from the Jadindagadendar) 

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd: The King Must Die 

Julie Favreau: She century 

Emma Finn: Double Mountain 

Ariel Guzik: Holoturian 

Kemang Wa Lehulere: Join the Dots 

Hanna Tuulikki: SING SIGN: a close duet 

Platform: 2015

Our twelfth edition marked the start of our annual showcase of early-career artists, with individuals being selected from an open call by an invited panel of judges including artists Christine Borland and Craig Coulthard, and supported to create new work to present in a group exhibition during the festival.

For our first Platform showcase, the selected artists were:

Antonia Bañados

Ben Callaghan

Ross Hamilton Frew

Jessica Ramm  

View the Platform: 2015 Booklet:

Partner Exhibitions

Scottish Art: People, Places, Ideas at City Art Centre

France-Lise McGurn Beatrice Gibson at Collective

Bernat Klein: A LIFE IN COLOUR and Kwang Young Chun: Aggregations at Dovecot

ECA Masters Festival 2015 Reciprociti and Remote Centres: Performances from Outlandia at Edinburgh College of Art

In Other Words… Derek Michael Besant at Edinburgh Printmakers

Toby Paterson: Thresholds at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

Phyllida Barlow: set at Fruitmarket Gallery

Charles Avery: The People and Things of Onomatopoeia at Ingleby Gallery

John Chamberlain at Inverleith House

Sara Barker, Tara Donovan, Samara Scott: Still Life and Lauren Gault: lipstick – NASA at Jupiter Artland

Photography: A Victorian Sensation Masters of Japanese Porcelain at National Museum of Scotland

Work Out at The Number Shop

John Bellany: The Capercaillie’s Song Weave at Open Eye Gallery

Scottish Artists 1750-1900: From Caledonia to the Continent at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse

e e e o ee e i a a e e a at Rhubaba

Bailey’s Stardust and Jean-Étienne Liotard at Scottish National Gallery

The Amazing World of MC Escher, ARTIST ROOMS, Roy Lichtenstein Reflections: A series of changing displays of Contemporary Art at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Lee Miller & Picasso at Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Here Comes Everybody War on War Room by Stills

Hanne Darboven: accepting anything among everything at Talbot Rice Gallery

James Morrison: The North Wind Fine Lines and Joan Eardley: In Context at The Scottish Gallery

Pop-Up Exhibitions and Events

South Gallery: Believe

Dennis and Debbie Club: The Strip at Codebase

Hill Street Design House: The Skinny Showcase

Travelling Gallery: Eyes On The Prize 

GARAGE: Live art events and shows

Deveron Arts: Contemporary Pilgrimage: The Way to Venice

Sarah Hardie: Songs for someone who isn’t there

Deborah Marshall: Trace at H M General Reister House

David Sherry: Avoiding Answer at St Andrew Square

Yvonne Buskie: Joan of Arc 603 at Dance Base

Telfer Gallery: This Is Not A City at Scottish Book Trust