Old Fruitmarket Reopens with Refreshing Sculpture

This exhibition pops colour before my eyes before my foot sets through the door. Karla Black is a Turner Prize Artist with a retrospective in Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery.


The building began as a Fruit Warehouse in 1931 and has recently expanded with the use of steel beams and brickwork to provide wider space for Artists to express their thoughts.


No mean feat, as the building hovers over the train tracks of Waverley Station. The taller roof height provides a wider canvas for bright colours and big ideas to unfold as I find out.

The candy colours are made from materials such as eye make up, medicinal creams and powdered marble. This apparently eclectic choice of material is a perfect introduction to Black’s work. Each substance is on its way to being made into something.


Blacks weaves work when it is at its abstract stage, before it has taken on figurative meaning and uses the dynamics of the material to present the experience. She is absent from the narrative and so is the viewer to a point. I dive in with my imagination making my own meaning. It is abstract after all, surely this is my luxury and I love that. Like a long distant paper aeroplane the scope of the gallery is huge. The potential of the materials is limitless.

By applying materials to the surface of an object a new meaning is found e.g. the simple cardboard boxes are skewed delightfully. Soil on the surface of boxes creates a yummy squidgey looking chocolate sandwich and the addition of marble powder conveys a pyramid of coconut ice. This Art has inspiration for one and all as anyone can find cardboard boxes to start a project and experiment with Karla Black’s methods.

The layout of the exhibition demonstrates the range of experimentation in Black’s work although a browse through her catalogue in the book shop later reveals much more depth has been explored in each of the ideas on show. There is always so much more to us all I guess than what the eye can see. In this case though, first impressions confirm my final feeling.


A bright colour greeted me on the way in and the powder and on my exit from the upper floor, pink plasterers powder is layered on the floor. The powder can be cast as anything at all when it is processed with water. This tells the story of all the materials in Black’s work. Rolls of thread are strewn over the powder and the viewer is invited to this space. This is Art for the people and I feel welcome. Thank you Karla Black.

It is a joy to share these bright sparkly moments with you. If you would like a twice monthly catch up email with jazzy inspiration of the season please shoot me your digital address here and I will joyfully connect.

A friend of mine would sometimes describe complex exhibitions as being ‘well hung’ often as a response to stuffy dense oil paintings perched tightly on gallery walls. Here the best work is certainly well hung although there is movement this time. The art floats in the space and feels dynamic.

Most importantly here is to your good health and good fortune 😉 x September is looking delightful from my window.

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