Sunday, August 04, 2013

In the name of the wee man...

Playlist
Various Composers - Edition Zeitgenössische Musik Vol 1
Various Composers - Edition Zeitgenössische Musik Vol 2
Krommer - Oboe Quartets and Quintets
Vanhal - 6 Quartette Concertante
Various Composers - Music of Our Time

The Edinburgh Fringe was once a bastion of cutting edge theatre and art - but that was a very long time ago...

Now it is mainly a comedy festival...

And this because, rightly or wrongly, comedy is what tends to sell the most tickets...

Many people regret this low brow takeover...

I accept it as an inevitability and believe it a good thing that the Edinburgh Fringe is not funded by anyone other than the performers and their audience...

The "top" acts and their management may attract sponsorship - indeed many venues themselves now attract sponsorship or are set up specifically by a sponsor - for example Channel 4 or the BBC...

It's a far cry from the band of happy amateurs in the eight small companies who started it all off in 1947 by performing "on the fringes" of the official Festival, in an attempt to tap into the crowds attracted by the "high art" of the "real" Edinburgh International Festival, conceived after the war to emulate the successful Salzburg Festival...

Of course nowadays, the majority of the visitors to Scotland's capital for the month of August each year, come for the Fringe itself - but the goal of all performers surely remains to tap into this kind of "captive audience" of art (in the widest sense of the word) lovers...

The huge influx of visitors allows many ideas to see the light of day that would not otherwise have a platform...

And, I know this is a dirty word to many, but "marketing", if used correctly by these leftfield offerings can lead to well deserved attention and attendance...

And there is much of worth to see for those not wanting to merely fill their diaries with the latest 50 minutes of laughter available from the stars of comedy quiz shows...

And so, today, our target was art...


..at Summerhall - itself a privately funded artspace with over 500 rooms (note that many of the links below are to the Summerhall 2013 Festival website so may well disappear after September 2013)...


Here we spent almost three hours wandering around and taking in the delights on display...

For anyone visiting Edinburgh in August (or indeed any other time of the year), I recommend setting aside some time to visit this venue...

As regards the contemporary art we enjoyed, it put us very much in mind of the quinquennial Documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany...

The pictures below give you a taster - of course we did not see everything...






The courtyard...


...where we viewed several unpictured exhibits...

...and where your correspondent also spent 15 minutes inside this container being entertained by the work of Inne Goris and Dominique Pauwells...


Then, the hut drawings of Johnny Miller...

Seven huts, one for each day of the week - each with a different letter, colour, location, theme and soundtrack...








Back inside for some electronic music, machines and light in the installation by Robbie Thomson...





Erm, this is just a store room - but an interesting one...


..and in the corridor outside, I failed to note the artist involved...






There was a selection of contemporary Chinese art...



...then, back outside where I spied this, high up on an exterior wall...


Lunch was Indian street food - very tasty indeed...


Then, I ventured into the basement for Gregor Schneider's "Susser Duft"...


Only one viewer is allowed entry at a time so, while we waited for the queue to die down a little, we enjoyed a short film about a two day circus based event in London's Picadilly Circus last September 

And so, in to "Susser Duft", the content of which I won't reveal here, in case anyone reading is planning on going along...

Suffice to say, if I'm reading this back years from now, I will still remember what happened down there...

[Update 2017]

Given the passage of time, here are pictures of the exhibit taken from this website



















...which, after a while of me probably looking at too many things, was taking its toll on the Exec Producer...


But who was that wee man in the background?

None other than Mr DeMarco himself...

Here seen in front of two portraits of him, created by David Mach...



Mr D, born the same year as my mum,  was very friendly towards us - indeed the above pics were taken in a room still being set up, into which he invited us after we revealed our liking of and multiple visits to various Documentas over the last thirty years...

He is a remarkable character and one, without whom, the Scottish Arts and Theatre scene would be very different indeed...

He recommended the work of these Japanese artists - also in the process of being installed and therefore currently nameless...


Along the corridor we found what was, for me, possibly the best room of the day - "Phenotype - Genotype" - an extensive collection of smaller artifacts by many of the most famous producers of modern and contemporary art, named on this periodic table...














Again, I failed to note the producer of this golden work...


..and did not take any pics of Derek Jarman's "The Blue Book"...

Another room of Laurence Weiner...



..included this favourite...


..before we enjoyed the last exhibits of the day, Fiona Banner's very inventive "The Vanity Press"...  




And down the stairs and out into the afternoon sunshine...


..and to "normality" with a visit to my mums for coffee, biscuits and chat, then over to Anne's mum's for tea with Keith, Maureen, Jane, Craig and Arianne...

Back home, continuing with "The White Queen" and some work on this, ending the day as it started, with some weird German contemporary classical music...

A very good day indeed...

Highlight of the Day : Entertaining chat with Richard deMarco...

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