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Summer Art Guide: the best offerings in Edinburgh and beyond

Tired of having your head in a book? Desperately wanting summer to make an appearance? Well, keep a firm grasp on that biro and enjoy a healthy moment of procrastination, as it is time to compile your post-exam ‘must visit’ list.

For any of you lucky ones finishing early, Subodh Gupta’s ‘Invisible Reality’ at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset, ending 2 May, is definitely worthy of a visit. The New-Delhi artist’s past and present works fill all five gallery spaces, with the first installation ‘Touch, Trace, Taste and Truth’, resembling a glowing sun, an appropriate title for those who have reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

Other works include a reassembled terracotta house from Southern India, giving the exhibition its title. Clearly interested in the relationship between life on earth and that in space, Gupta installs LED lights, glowing within the small structure, to represent that of the cosmos. Perhaps the most visually impressive work, ‘Specimen no. 108’, is found in the courtyard. This giant stainless steel tree bears utensils for leaves, continuing Gupta’s fascination with the everyday object.

For those of you staying in Edinburgh, Jupiter Artland’s programme is sure to please. Opening its doors to the public on 14 May and continuing right through to September, the sculpture park is soon to become home to exciting new installations, both exhibited in the grounds and within the gallery. Included in this list is the work of French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. ‘From Here to Ear’, previously exhibited at the Barbican Centre in London, featuring real life songbirds landing on, and consequently strumming, amplified electric guitars. Other works include Christian Boltanski’s first outdoor work in the UK and ‘Piss Flowers’ by late Turner-prize nominee Helen Chadwick.

London’s museums and galleries have a similarly impressive array of works on display. The Royal Academy currently boasts two incredibly popular shows: ‘Monet to Matisse’, ending 20 April and ‘In the Age of Giorgione’, running till June. The Giorgione exhibition is perhaps more underrated and has recently sparked debate over one portrait in particular, painted by either Giorgione or Titian, both masters of the Venetian school.

The Victoria and Albert Museum equally welcomes art lovers with two very different exhibitions ‘Botticelli Re-imagined’ and ‘Paul Strand’ both closing 3 July. The first focuses on Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’, the enigmatic masterpiece of the Early Italian Renaissance. The work is the ultimate celebration of female sensuality, a trope that has been countlessly re-imagined by artists and fashion designers, forming the central theme of the exhibition. Including a range of mediums and subjects from religious oils to mythological drawings, the exhibition displays the greatest number of Botticelli’s in Britain since 1930.

The second exhibition, a retrospective of American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand, shows just how prominent these black and white images have been in leading the way for numerous documentary photographers. If you are looking for something a little more colourful, then ‘Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear’ may also appeal.

With all of this to see, and much more, it is time to get over the revision slump and look ahead to an exciting summer. After all, this may be the last time you can abuse your student discount!

Image Credit: John Lord

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The Student Newspaper 2016