Peter Doig brings elements of Canada, Trinidad, India, Germany - and his Edinburgh birthplace - to his vivid, large-scale paintings
Where does Peter Doig come from? Is it Edinburgh, where he was born? Is it
Canada, where he moved in 1966 at the age of seven? Is it London, where he studied
at Wimbledon, St Martin’s and Chelsea schools of art? Is it Trinidad, where he
has lived and worked since 2002? Or is it Germany, where he is a professor at
the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf?
To look at
his paintings, it could be all of the above. Many of his large-scale canvases
have the kind of Tahitian heat you see in Gauguin, their colours vibrant, their
bold landscapes pushing towards the abstract. Others, though, are altogether
cooler, their chill blue atmospheres and washed-out palates suggesting more
curator Julie-Ann Delaney, is typical of an artist who draws inspiration not
only from his own intercontinental travels but also from found photographs and
from master painters such as Munch, Monet and Klimt.
some that you would assume were Trinidad, because that’s where he is based, but
they’re actually a found photograph from India,” she says. “One work called
‘House of Pictures’ is based on a photograph he took of a commercial gallery in
Vienna and, within that, there’s a figure, and the photograph of the figure was
taken in Vancouver. Even when he’s been working in Trinidad, he’s been working
off photography from Canada. The fact that it could be any place is what’s
really exciting about them.”
“The times we live in now, people can move. It’s not as if you belong to one
place and that’s it. Especially for artists: it’s important that they migrate
and experience different cultures.”
wanderlust means Delaney’s ten-year overview is less a homecoming than a chance
to catch up with a long-lost Edinburgh son. The exhibition title, No Foreign
Lands, is a quote from that other well-travelled Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson,
who wrote in The Silverado Squatters: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller
only who is foreign.” Doig’s work has a strong sense of place, even though it
is not necessarily the same place or even a totally real place.
inspiration from other artists, but for him, it’s about taking elements of
their work but making it his own,” says Delaney. “He paints modern settings –
for example, there’s a series called ‘The Heart of Old San Juan’ that depicts a
basketball court – but he’s using more historical methods.”
most looking forward to is seeing these hallucinatory paintings up close.
Reproductions do scant justice either to their size (up to 3m by 3.5m) or their
distinctive paint work. “You really need to see the surface and the way the
paint is applied,” she says. “He pushes himself and tries to use paint differently
to keep himself interested in the work and to ensure things don’t become stale.
They are large-scale and the RSA rooms are really the only ones in Scotland
that could cope with the scale of his work. You really need that physical
together nearly 120 works, including several brand new pieces, she is
structuring No Foreign Lands around a series of themes. She wants to illuminate
Doig’s preoccupations – among them ping pong, pelicans and canoes – and also to
give an insight into his working methods, from small study right up to major
oil painting. “There are specific forms in his work that migrate,” she says.
“There are certain things that you’ll see in paintings reminiscent of Canada
that will move into a Trinidad setting. We’re looking at about 20 different
themes and then forms migrate from one theme to another. He’s an incredible
Words Mark Fisher
When & Where
No Foreign Lands: Peter Doig, Scottish National Gallery, 3 August - 3 November, 10am - 5pm. From £6, Tel: 01364 624 6200.
A combination of Man Ray's most iconic works and pieces that have never been seen before provide an enlightening portrait of the photographer
It was a heart-in-the-mouth moment. As far as curator Terrence Pepper was concerned, there was
one image that had to be the centrepiece of his exhibition of Man Ray
photographic portraits. It’s the picture of Lee Miller in profile. Her face is
relaxed as she gazes somewhere to our right. The light catches her hair, which
is cut boyishly short and tucked behind her ear. Her neck is long and elegant,
her dress plain. Thanks to a technique known as solarisation there is a dark
outline to her features as if someone has drawn around her face.
Alice Prin (aka Kiki de Montparnasse), Miller was one of Man Ray’s great muses
and Pepper couldn’t imagine his exhibition without this picture. But there was
a problem. He spoke to Tony Penrose, Miller’s son, only to be told: “I’d be
pleased to help you but unfortunately there’s another show I’ve lent this to
and you can’t have it.” It was a major blow.
for Pepper, the rival tour fell apart and his prize image was available once
more. It’s now the one you see on the poster for Man Ray Portraits, which,
remarkably, is the first solo exhibition of the pioneering American artist’s
work. It takes its place at the heart of the collection, along with Pepper’s
other favourite: Noire et Blanche, featuring the porcelain-white face of de
Montparnasse lying as if asleep on a table adjacent to a black African mask.
already acclaimed at the National Portrait Gallery in London, takes us through
Man Ray’s career in the US and Paris between 1916 and 1968. Featuring over 100
works, it shows the artist as a key player in the Dada and Surrealist
movements, even while he was working as a commercial photographer for magazines
such as French Vogue.
to show things that have never been seen before, as well as finding the core of
Man Ray’s work,” says Pepper. “You’re trying to appeal to the person who’s
never seen Man Ray and the people who know him, so we had to keep the standard
including portraits the artist made throughout his career, Pepper reveals those
less well-known corners of the canon. “In the past, people have stopped looking
at Man Ray after the Second World War,” he says. “But he carried on and
surreptitiously did work in the Hollywood of the 1940s. That work hasn’t really
been shown before. It’s quite a revelation that he was not working officially
as a photographer, but still taking the odd picture.”
is fascinating from an artistic point of view, as well as in terms of the
sitters. Man Ray had intimate access to many of the key figures of his day. As
well as de Montparnasse and Miller, who became a noted photographer in her own
right, he was in a position to shoot figures such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador
Dali, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. “It’s a cultural history of the 20th
century,” says Pepper. “As part of the Surrealist and Dada movement, he had
this insider view.”
not, it is the modernity of the images that hits home today. “It’s one thing
about great photographs that they do look contemporary,” he says. “There’s a
woman who looks just like Gwyneth Paltrow. We don’t know who she is, but the
face is completely of the now.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 09:29
Having seen the Pam Hogg Runway Show as part of the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, it was a treat to see some of her designs up close, in the eerily appropriate setting of Summerhall’s Post Mortem Room. Set up as an installation of clothing, accessories and fashion photography, the pieces fill the brilliant – though limited – space perfectly, and despite its small size, there is plenty to see here between the exquisite clothing and exhibition design.
A personal selection from Pam Hogg’s collections is surrounded by recent fashion photography by Rankin. Four full-body mannequins, domineering from their high vantage point, display a range of clothing.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:51
Within the apt confines of the converted Dissection Room at new Arts venue Summerhall, attendees of the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival were granted the rare opportunity to see some of Pam Hogg’s most stunning designs all in one place. A Scottish designer who seldom shows in Scotland, Hogg’s runway show included personally selected looks from her last seven collections: ‘Time Machine’ AW/09, ‘Goddess at War’ SS/10, ‘Valley of the Shadow of Darkness’ AW/10, ‘To Kingdom Come’ SS/10, ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ AW/11, ‘Notre Dames’ SS/12 and ‘Wild Life’ AW/12. With highlights from these individual shows on one runway, it was inevitably going to be a spectacular and consistently rich display of stunning design, daring fetish-inspired looks, and bodysuits galore.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 16:47
The Rose Street Film Programme is advertised as providing a platform for young artists who offer an oblique view of the city of Edinburgh. It will host a variety of different films over the Festival and will be screened in the windows of shops along Rose Street.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 15:19
New to 2012 Festivals was the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival and with Edinburgh only being 409 miles away from London (now considered to be a Fashion Capital of the world) it has been a long time coming.
The Festival took place in Summerhall - the old Royal Dick Veterinary School and featured incredible Scottish designers, exhibitions, talks and workshops. It’s aim: “to feature fashion as an art form”.
As part of the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival I attended the Bebaroque AW2012 Runway Show set in the beautifully converted Dissection Room.
A sense of playfulness regarding space and the city is one of the most charming features of Anthony Schrag’s Tourist in Residence programme, part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. As Schrag explains when we arrive, we will be approaching the city with new eyes, those of tourists, and examining the nature and actions of tourism through a number of whimsical activities.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:20
The first room in this surprisingly vast gallery space in Stills on Cockburn Street features three large-scale, high resolution photographs of model American suburbia. The pictures themselves are devoid of humanity, sparse and give the feeling of sterile American ghost towns, but rather than crumbling buildings and rusting playgrounds, these are made up of perfectly symmetrical lawns and houses. It really does convey a new, more literal meaning to the term ‘model home’. The lack of humanity in each piece means that there doesn’t appear to be any particular narrative focus, but real life flames in one of the pictures provides intrigue and enough action to sustain interest. The most impressive aspect of the exhibition is the sheer scale of the photographs and the fact that the intricate detail of the models themselves is not lost in enlargement. You really do see something new every time you look at each picture.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 August 2012 15:11
Little Sparta is the unique garden creation of distinguished Scottish poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay. Located at the artist’s hilltop home Stonypath, in Dunsyre, Little Sparta is an estate of ten diverse gardens embodying his poetic and philosophical thoughts on The French Revolution, warfare and conflict, the sea, literature, art and Greek mythology.
The gardens reflect his ideas on the relationship between man and nature and there are over 275 works of art in stone, wood, neon, metal and glass many featuring inscription of language. Some of his ideas, sometimes touched with humour, are clear to the visitor whereas others require knowledge.
Danny boi! Having only seen images or You Tube clips of extreme bike rider Danny MacAskill it was incredible to watch him perform live in St Andrew Square.
His show, which curiously featured as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, drew a huge crowd during lunch hour. Plenty of young and inspired fans had flocked to see their hero and the show began with the announcement that the loudest cheering fan would win an autographed t-shirt. I was rather tempted by the prize!
A breathtaking project not least for its scale and innovative use of technology, Speed of Light will be hard to miss and probably one of the most talked about events of Edinburgh International Festival 2012. With the UK gripped by Olympic fever and mesmerised by Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony, it seems fitting that a land-art show with community, creative and competitive spirit at its heart would shine brightest.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:02
Kinetic energy emitted by hundreds of runners will create a land-based glowing galaxy beneath Arthur's Seat in NVA director Angus Farquhar's latest Festival event. Words Mark Fisher
Keen followers of NVA know to expect the unexpected. Buying a ticket to one of the Glasgow company's events means opening yourself up to a quite extraordinary experience.
Speed of Light, in contrast to previous NVA installations, is positively urban, taking place not at the furthest reaches of the Scottish countryside, but on the slopes of Arthur's Seat, the iconic 250m peak at the heart of Edinburgh's Holyrood Park. In an imaginative response to the Olympic Games, it is a piece of choreographed athletics, featuring hundreds of runners.
"It's about intentional movement made manifest as energy through light," says creative director Angus Farquhar.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 10:56
Harry Hill is making a much-talked about appearance in Edinburgh this year - with a stand up show and as an artist holding his first public exhibition. Words Mark Fisher
There are many reasons we may know Harry Hill. Perhaps it is as the large-collared stand-up, making light of light entertainment in TV Burp. Perhaps it is as the masterful voiceover artist who transformed You’ve Been Framed! from a cheap clippings compendium into half an hour of must-see hilarity.
Whatever your reason, however, you are unlikely to know him as an artist. Certainly not one whose name might be mentioned alongside Turner Prize winners Richard Wright, Susan Philipsz and Martin Creed. Yet here he is, exhibiting alongside these artworld greats in the Edinburgh Art Festival with a show called My Hobby, in addition to his much-talked about comedy show at The Stand.
is a memorial to all women. Not only is it a body of works dedicated to individuals who died as subjects of depraved acts of violence, it debunks the sick destruction through reinterpretation. By having almost two hundred other artists get involved to create the pieces, Tamsyn Challenger has generated awareness of the painfully brutal fact that in Mexico hundreds of women are being abused and murdered in epidemic proportions.
Spring Has Sprung but the Stance Still Stands
is a lot more than an alliterative masterpiece. It is also a deeply introspective look at the connections between seemingly random incidents in our lives by two talented young artists, Hilary Donald and Joe Sloan, an exhibition of inter-related art hosted in an unoccupied flat in Stockbridge.
Hiroshi Sugimoto has an acclaimed portfolio of work, and as the exhibition’s entrance rightly claims, can boast the creation of “some of the most celebrated images of our time.” If you’re looking for art but not sure where to begin with so much going on this month, this is a good place to start. It’s a short exhibition of large, striking images by an important artist. Concise blurbs accompany the two parts, Photogenic Drawings and Lightning Fields.
From the gentle brushstrokes of the Impressionists to the hard-edged drama
of Atsuo Okamoto’s granite sculptures, Edinburgh is going all arty in August.
EAF EXPO EXHIBITIONS
From 22 June
6 Times is a landmark series of sculptures by celebrated British artist Anthony Gormley, whose other work includes the iconic Angel of the North, has positioned six life-sized ﬁgures between the grounds of Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the sea. Discover these striking ﬁgures along the scenic Water of Leith.
7 ARTISTS: EDINBURGH SOUL
5 August - 6 September, Mon-Sat, 10.30am-6pm; Sun, 12-6pm
An exhibition featuring seven of Edinburgh’s finest and most exciting artists, full of iconic and powerful imagery.
A new exhibition at the Dean Gallery sets out to prove that Surrealism isn’t just Dalí.
Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Joan Miró we think we know. But what about Ithell Colquhoun, Marion Adnams and John Armstrong? Those are three of the names chief curator Patrick Elliott is hoping will turn heads at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art this summer, even as they share wall space with their more famous peers.
Controversial Turner Prize winner Martin Creed is looking forward to playing with your mind this festival.
Arecent article in The Times elevated Martin Creed to the “pantheon of irritants” alongside Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Indeed, many people must have assumed the Scottish artist was some kind of art-world fraud after he won the Turner Prize in 2001 for Work No 227, The Lights Going On and Off, an installation that was exactly that: the lights going on and off. Today, however, Creed laughs at the idea.
Last Updated on Sunday, 06 September 2009 13:17
7 August- 27 September
Collective Gallery/ Dean Gallery/ Talbot Rice Gallery
Often I find that installations in art galleries fail to interest me. There is that notion of pretension within “contemporary art” which generally repulses rather than woos the spectator.