Photo by Tom FinnieAt the heart of this year's Edinburgh Art Festival (4 August - 4 September 2011) is the unveiling of a permanent commission by Wakefield-born artist and musician Martin Creed.
The work was commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery for Edinburgh Art Festival with support from the Scottish Government’s Expo Fund and took a while to deliver - it was meant to have been finished by last year's festival. Work No. 1059 consists of 104 steps leading from the Scotsman Hotel on North Bridge to Waverley Station, The Fruitmarket Gallery and City Art Centre on Market Street, each step clad in a different colour of marble.
The Scotsman Steps were built in 1899 as part of the ‘Scotsman Building’ for the Scotsman newspaper, and have recently been refurbished by Edinburgh City Council and Edinburgh World Heritage. Work No.1059 forms a key part of the refurbishment, and is a visually spectacular, beautiful and thoughtful response to this historic artery. Creed describes the project as a microcosm of the whole world – stepping on the different marble steps is like walking through the world, the new staircase dramatising Edinburgh’s internationalism and contemporary significance while recognising and respecting its historical importance.
The work can be found at: Scotsman Steps, 45 Market Street, EH1 1DF and happily can be viewed Monday - Sunday between 5am and midnight. See if you can squeeze it in during those hours.