Tim Cornwell's Festival Diary, Wednesday 24 August
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
The herbs, vegetables and flowers of the Garden of Eichstatt in Bavaria, from castor-oil plants to clematis and sunflowers, made it famous as the most extravagant European garden of its day, 400 years ago.
About 100 original engravings of the collection published by the Eichstatt's apothecary and botanist Basil Besler in 1613 adorn the walls of art broker Alexander Meddowes' festival exhibition at his gallery on Royal Terrace. Prices range from £1,100 to £2,300.
The works, a sample of which is pictured right, come from a single copy of the first edition of Besler's illustrated catalogue Hortus Eyestettensis. Besler spent 16 years cataloguing the plants in painstaking detail for the garden's owner - his boss, Prince Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen.
The show is not in the Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF), as Meddowes got the works, from a single collector, too late to include. "You just aren't going to see this sort of collection in Scotland. They are absolutely wonderful," he says.
BRING YOUR TORCHES
THE festival proper hosts its Art Late night tomorrow, with a string of galleries opening into the evening. Audiences have a choice of three walking or bus tours, free, but booking is essential via the EAF website.
Art Late launches at the Ingleby Gallery with a performance by Ali Cook, the magician, and other offerings include the redoubtable Dr Duncan Thomson, former keeper of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, talking on Scottish portraiture at Bourne Fine Art.
Tamsyn Challenger will be speaking on her show 400Women, in which 200 artists respond to the murders of women in Ciudad JuÃ¡rez, Mexico.
Inverleith House, showing Robert Rauschenberg, will see a performance of John Cage's 1953 Theatre Piece No 1, aka "Untitled Event". Performers are told only how long their contribution lasts, so no-one has a clear picture of how the night will develop.
GUIDED BY VOICES
ANOTHER way to explore the art festival is a new iPhone app, Walk the Water, which delivers audio content to your phone as you wander the streets, exploring the rainy, Gothic soul of a city "built on a rock surrounded by marshes".
The art festival has yet to release any footfall figures for this year, when it has aimed to raise its profile with a new hub, the glass pavilion at St Andrew Square. Its quirkiest offerings include the Collective Gallery's Remains of the Day, in which German artist Hans Schabus presents all the rubbish accumulated by his family in a single year, alongside firm favourites from John Byrne at the Open Eye Gallery and David Mach's colossal show at the City Art Centre.