GENERATION is perhaps the most ambitious exhibition in this year's Fringe and one that extends beyond the confines of this festival. The purpose is to bring together the work of more than a hundred artists to celebrate a quarter of a century of contemporary art in Scotland. In Edinburgh, of course, the exhibition takes place in a fantastic venue: the second floor of the Scottish National Gallery.
The display of talent is amazing
Our first encounter is a fantastic and nightmarish display by Martin Boyce ironically titled Our Love is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours. In it, bright neon trees stand next to bench-like forms creating a futuristic urban park. Already this first work awakens contradicting emotions, something that occurs throughout the exhibition. The piece is both impressive in its construction as it is in making us question the relationship between modernity, tradition, fantasy and possibility.
The beautiful walk through this gallery of high ceilings, lit with natural light takes us through the work of 9 artists. Some pieces were specially commissioned for the exhibit, others are iconic pieces of the artists. In any case, the works range from the absurd to the abstract, with topics that challenge every-day life and history. The art is delivered through various mediums such as satirical prints, impossible landscapes, abstract paintings, daring videos, and powerful sculptures.
The display of talent is amazing and is revealed to us in every room; but there is one piece that is as memorable as it is tragic. L'homme double (The Double) recreates the look of one man created by six sculptors. The man in question is the Nazi Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death,” whose appearance has never been fully known. The interpretations vary greatly from realistic, imposing and to even caricaturesque. Its powerful message awakens feelings of horror and curiosity, but it also creates the closest encounter that we'll ever have with him.
GENERATION is a journey of emotions and thought-provoking experiments, perhaps not suited for those who expect a more straight-forward display. It is, nevertheless, a taste of what Scotland's contemporary art scene has to offer, and a recommended stop for those wishing to explore Scotland in the modern times from an artistic perspective.