A torrent of creative burst, 2017 ushers in plenty of enticing new exhibitions dedicated to expanding the artistic frontiers of the subconscious. From a photographic series surrounding heroin addiction to enrapturing fossil tales, explore our guide to the best exhibitions in Edinburgh this year.
Graham MacIndoe: Coming Clean
📅 Saturday, 8th April – Sunday, 5th November
Intimate and raw, Graham MacIndoe: Coming Clean depicts the all-encroaching torment caused by addiction. The series of self-portraits by Graham MacIndoe, an acclaimed New York-based Scottish photographer, highlights the demonic and isolating effects of heroin and the accompanying addiction-induced demise. While shedding a new light on the genre of self-portraiture, this evocative series shows a real and vulnerable side of society that many choose to overlook. MacIndoe stumbled across these powerful images several years after beating his addiction. Although the Scottish National Gallery acquired 25 personal prints in 2015, 2017 marks their first time on display.
Maria Merian’s Butterflies
📅 Friday, 17th March – Sunday, 23rd July
German entomologist, naturalist, and scientific illustrator Maria Merian is renowned for her trailblazing work on insects and the metamorphosis of the butterfly. Praised by the great Sir David Attenborough as one of the most prolific thinkers in the field of entomology, Merian became famous in 1705 following the publication of her masterpiece, Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium. Thanks to a grant from the city of Amsterdam, Merian conducted her insect-related research in South America, making her one of the first to embark on travels grounded wholly in science. A dreamy blend of Planet Earth and art, experience Merian’s vibrant hypnotic works and story, including hand-painted luxury versions of vivid plates from Metamorphosis, acquired by George III.
True To Life: British Realist Painting In The 1920s And 30s
📅 Saturday, 1st July – Sunday, 29th October
True To Life gets down to the nitty gritty of British Realist paintings during the 1920s and 30s through exploring and truly feeling the distinctive styles of artists like Gerald Leslie Brockhurst, Meredith Frampton, Harold Harvey, Doc Procter and Bernard Fleetwood Walker. Although great artists of their time, there’s no denying the overshadowing elements of Modernism. The exhibition, which is the first of its kind, will feature around 70 paintings, each showing the wondrous scope and captivating ways of Realism.
📅 Saturday, 17th June – Sunday, 24th September
Beyond Caravaggio is a beautiful exhibition of light and shadow. Gracing Scotland for the first time, this cunning collection of Caravaggio’s works will be accompanied by paintings from his tribe of trusty followers, the Caravaggesque painters. Ogle over the inner workings of this afflicted yet brilliant mind and see how he influenced the likes of Valentin, Gentileschi and Ter Brugghen.
📅 Friday, 7th April – Sunday, 10th September
Tiny, tangible time portals to an array of ages, fossils allow us a glimpse into a bygone past. Perfect for budding palaeontologists, Fossil Tales is a small yet mighty showcase of an eclectic array of fossils from the National Museum of Scotland’s collection. Through examining these ancient remains, this eye-opening exhibit explores the myriad of myths that have emerged cross-culturally throughout the years, while documenting numerous early speculations regarding the origins and uses of fossils. After all, a fossil can speak a thousand words about cultures and their heritage.
Splendours Of The Subcontinent: A Prince’s Tour Of India 1875-6
📅 Friday, 5th December, 2017 – Sunday, 15th April, 2018
Filled with ornamental jewels and glimmering objects, Splendours Of The Subcontinent showcases a resplendent display of Indian artifacts from the Royal Collection. These treasures were bestowed upon the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII) during his four-month tour of the Subcontinent in the 19th century. Some the creation of skilled artisans, others drawn from the personal collections of rulers, these gifts appeared as part of a traditional exchange. This captivating selection of ornate heirlooms consists of multiple works of art, watercolours and photographs, each of which offer a snippet of the tale surrounding the Prince’s grand tour.