27 July – 27 August

Our fourteenth edition of the festival presented 30 exhibitions curated by Edinburgh’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, featuring major historic surveys alongside leading Scottish, UK and international contemporary artists and 17 projects from across Scotland selected for our Pop Up Exhibitions and Events feature. For our Commissions Programme this year, 8 artists explored the extraordinary legacy of Sir Patrick Geddes, offering rare access to some of the more hidden parts of our city’s rich heritage.

“Edinburgh Art Festival is growing bigger and better every year … the range of art on show here is huge…” 
William Cook, The Spectator

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Commissions Programme

The Making of the Future: Now

In Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, our 2017 Commissions Programme invited artists to reflect on two important anniversaries for our city – the foundation of the first Edinburgh Festival in 1947, and the publication in 1917 of Patrick Geddes’ The Making of the Future: A Manifesto and a Project. Separated by a generation, both were born directly out of the experience of global conflict, and a strong belief that artists could play a critical role in helping societies to imagine new and better ways of living.

A town planner, conservationist, social activist and polymath, Sir Patrick Geddes (1854–1932) was a profoundly visionary thinker whose ideas continue to resonate with contemporary societies around the world. His pamphlet The Making of the Future, looks forward to the end of WW1, and lays out his vision for a new more holistic society in which ‘Art and Industry, Education and Health, Morals and Business must… advance in unison’. Thirty years later, the Edinburgh International Festival was founded with the ambition to ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’, seeing art and artists as critical in fostering dialogue between nations in a Europe torn apart by war.

Presenting new projects by Scottish and international artists at sites in and around Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Making of the Future: Now paid homage to the physical and intellectual legacy of Geddes and the origins of festival culture in our city, and explored the continued relevance of their ideas today. 

Participating Artists:

Zoë Walker and Neil Bromwich: The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership  

Toby Paterson: The Sociology of Autumn 

Shannon Te Ao: With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods  

Bobby Niven: Palm House

Garden Residencies: Neil Bickerton, Alison Scott, Daisy Lafarge, Deirdre Nelson

Platform: 2017

The 2017 edition of our dedicated showcase for artists at the beginning of their careers was selected from an open call by artists Jacqueline Donachie and Graham Fagen, and included:

Uist Corrigan

Rebecca Howard

Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte

Adam Quinn 

View the Platform: 2017 Booklet:

Partner Exhibitions

An A-Z of the City’s Collections at City Art Centre

Patrick Staff: To Those in Search of Immunity and Ross Little at Collective

Daughters of Penelope at Dovecot

ECA Masters Degree Show 2017 at Edinburgh College of Art

New Edition at Edinburgh Printmakers

Charlotte Barker: Flotilla at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

Jac Leirner: Add It Up at Fruitmarket Gallery

and per se and, parts XI-XIII at Ingleby

Plant Scenery of the World at Inverleith House

Marco Giordano: Self-Fulfilling-Ego, Pester and Rossi: Lunarnova Campout and Pablo Bronstein: The Rose Walk at Jupiter Artland

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites and Age of Oil at National Museum of Scotland

Thought Collider by New Media Scotland

Melon at The Number Shop

Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 at The Queen’s Gallery

You hardboiled      I softboiled at Rhubaba

Beyond Caravaggio and Constable & McTaggart: A Meeting of Two Masterpieces at Scottish National Gallery

True to Life: British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s, NOW and ARTIST ROOMS Music from the Balconies Ed Ruscha and Los Angeles at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

A Perfect Chemistry: Photographs by Hill & Adamson, Graham Fagen: The Slave’s Lament and Douglas Gordon: Black Burns at Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Kate Davis at Stills

Stephen Sutcliffe: Sex Symbols in Sandwich Signs and Jacob Kerray at Talbot Rice Gallery 

Pop-Up Exhibitions and Events

Sam Adamson, Lachlan Mcfeely Bolt, Harriet Morley and Rachael Simpson: Eh? What’s This?

Alan Grant, Robin Smith and Scott Davidson: Scott vs Demons at Artlink

Pauline and the Matches: Exhibition, Workshops and Performance at Custom Lane

Deveron Projects: Manaf Halbouni: What If?

Ethel Maude: Episodes

Heather Lander: Nearer Future at Institut Français Écosse

Josef Koudelka: The Making of Landscape at Signet Library

Juliana Capes: Earthly Bodies

Leith Creative: People and Places Make Leith Better

MERZ Gallery: Day Trip to Little Sparta and Crawick Multiverse

place + platform: Reject, Respond, Repurpose

Yvonne Buskie: ….starting to see the end

The Drawing Works: Fault Lines  at Patriothall Gallery

Stina Wirfelt, Angela Catlin and John Brown: Rolls and Shutters at Craigmillar Library

Leontios Toumpouris with Maria Anastassiou: On Residual Agencies

Lauren Printy Currie, Travelling Gallery and Glasgow Women’s Library

Wendy McMurdo: Let’s Go to a Place at Museum of Childhood