Art Review: Hidden Door Festival 2015

Edinburgh’s DIY festival of multi-arts returns with a great local art programme featuring Toby Paterson, Juliana Capes and Donald Watson

Whether or not it might go on to be considered a financial success on behalf of the volunteer group of organisers, or an event tinged with a note of sadness that this fantastic space has been found only to be given up for imminent development, we can be thankful that for just one week in May the Hidden Door festival came good with its mini-funfair of music, film, theatre and locally-sourced food and beer in the late spring sunshine. While the above elements were largely scheduled throughout the pay-in evenings, however, the extensive array of different and intriguing visual art was (and is, if you’re reading this before Sat 30 May) free to view all day.

The most notable name on the list of exhibitors was Toby Paterson, whose ‘Allocations’ – a triptych of framed card shapes in relief, placed on the wall within angular brass pipes positioned in between theme – sat alongside the vivid and much-selfied ‘Loveletters’ by Juliana Capes, a squadron of pastel paper aeroplanes in suspended flight through the air. Nearby was Donald Watson’s ‘Traverse Green 3’, a ceiling-mounted arc of vivid green vinyl strips fluttering in the breeze above the bar area, while Jill Martin Boualaxai’s ‘The Space in Between’ transforms what looks like an old pump room with diagrammatic decoupage and darkened visual projections.

Above the live performance spaces, crumbling office rooms had also been commandeered as art venues which were being frequently visited throughout by pint-sipping gig-goers. Something about the curation here, maybe just through each artist’s willingness to engage with the site and transform it, made the experience of wandering these exhibits fun and often interactive. A simple visual trick involving a false doorway in a darkened room with strip lights pointing inwards from the frame, Charlotte Kiernan’s ‘Between Spaces’ baffled the senses with its mirror-crossing effect. Meanwhile, Paula Petroll and Rhona Taylor chose to strikingly decorate the walls, floor and ceilings of their rooms, the former with decoupage and intensely detailed ink drawings, the latter with bold swathes of colour.

There are paintings, sound art pieces, installations and sculptures scattered along the trail here, many of them – like the wooded corner of the courtyard or the fold-out caravan parked at the opposite end, for example – requiring a bit of searching to find. If you still have the chance, it’s highly recommended that you take in the sights; if not, then hope that Hidden Door is back to do it all over again next year.

Hidden Door, Old Lighting Depot, Edinburgh, until Sat 30 May.

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