Seven Edinburgh highlights

  • 1 August 2013

Heading to Edinburgh Art Festival this August? We've chosen seven shows you have to see, from the founder of video art to architectural interventions.

1. Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands, Scottish National Gallery
50% off with National Art Pass

Drawing on influences as far-ranging as snow scenes and horror B-movies, Peter Doig's paintings are suffused with a dreamlike quality which sometimes borders on nightmarish. This exhi​bition, the artist's first major retrospective in the country of his birth, brings together works created since Doig moved to Trinidad in 2002.

2. Gabriel Orozco: Thinking in Circles, Fruitmarket Gallery
Free to all

Circles have been overlaid, sculpted, sliced and layered throughout Orozco's body of work since first appearing in his 2005 geometric painting The Eye of Go. This Fruitmarket exhibition features a series of large works on acetate which the Mexican artist created in the mid '90s but have never been exhibited before. 

3. Mary Queen of Scots, National Museum of Scotland
50% off with National Art Pass

One of the most controversial figures in British history, the mother of James I was embroiled in scandal and intrigue until the day of her execution. Paintings, correspondence, jewellery and other artefacts are brought together to uncover the truth behind the legends surrounding Mary Queen of Scots.

4. Krijn de Koning: Land, Edinburgh College of Art
Free to all

Krijn de Koning's structures change the perception of the spaces they inhabit, recasting familiar features in a new light. Created for Parley, a commissions programme celebrating the tenth Edinburgh Art Festival, this architectural intervention raises the floor of the College of Art to bring its elevated sculptures to ground level, humanising the mythical statues.

5. Witches and Wicked Bodies, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
50% off with National Art Pass

From Albrecht Dürer to Kiki Smith, witches have fascinated artists for centuries, whether portrayed as disfigured creatures or entrancing seductresses. This show brings together engravings, drawings and paintings by artists fascinated with the women of the occult, including works by William Blake and Francisco de Goya.

6. Transmitted Live: Nam June Paik Resounds, Talbot Rice Gallery
Free to all

Korean-American artist Nam June Paik is considered to be the founder of video art. He first trained as a classical pianist but was inspired to join the Neo-Dada movement by John Cage, whom he attacked with scissors during a recital in Cologne. Transmitted Live celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first solo exhibition, demonstrating Paik's impact on contemporary audiences.

7. Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man, Queen's Gallery
Standard entry charge

Even if he had never created a single painting, Leonardo would be remembered as one of the greatest anatomists of all time. Designed around his Anatomical Manuscript A, a collection of 18 sheets featuring over 240 drawings, this exhibition shows the incredible accuracy of Leonardo's work by presenting his drawings alongside CT and MRI scans.