The Fruitmarket curated Black’s solo presentation for Scotland in Venice at the 54th International Biennale in 2011 but has yet to work with her in Scotland. This exhibition is the result of an invitation to Black to play to her strengths and “force a raw creative moment” into the Fruitmarket’s pristine new gallery spaces.
The renovation and expansion offers Karla Black inspirational, materially resonant spaces in which to make and site her work. Inspired by the interplay of the new, double height warehouse with its raw brick and rough wood, and the refurbished conventionality of the exhibition galleries, she is working with the Fruitmarket to reimagine what a retrospective exhibition can be. A selection of sculpture made since 2000 will fill the ground floor galleries with standing, hanging and low-lying volumes and planes. They are constructed from and worked on with Black’s signature materials – cardboard, sugar paper, polystyrene, polythene, cellophane, sellotape, glass, mirror, net, vaseline, plaster powder, powder paint, medicines, cosmetics and thread.
These sculptures articulate and embody the freedom Black demands in and for her art. With their materials kept as near as possible in their raw state (plaster power and powder paint rather than these same materials mixed, set and dried), even though they were made in some cases quite long ago now, they are not relics of past practice but objects making meaning here and now.
These works will set the stage for two major new commissions, made by Karla Black in the upstairs gallery and the new warehouse space in the weeks before the exhibition opens. Creative freedom in action, these new works will embody the trust the Fruitmarket places in the artist and the artist places in her materials and her process.