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The Fruitmarket announces new plans for reopening and major presentation of work by Karla Black for launch 

    • Gallery expansion and £4.3m capital development is now due to be completed in 2021, with a public opening date of 7 July 2021.
    • Scottish artist Karla Black presents a reimagined retrospective: selecting existing sculptures and making new work in a dynamic interplay with the Fruitmarket’s new and refurbished gallery spaces.
    • Revitalised Fruitmarket will also host performance, dance, live literature and a range of multi-artform events to become Scotland’s newest venue for contemporary culture.
    • The Fruitmarket’s redevelopment has been designed by Edinburgh-based Reiach and Hall Architects to ensure that the Fruitmarket can continue to operate at the forefront of contemporary culture for decades to come.

The Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, UK, have announced plans for summer 2021, when the gallery will reopen with its existing galleries refreshed and expanded into a large adjacent warehouse in a £4.3m capital development.

A major exhibition by one of Scotland’s most renowned sculptors – Glasgow-based Karla Black – will inaugurate the newly expanded Fruitmarket, which also makes room for a new cross cultural programme.

The development brings the gallery’s next door building – also a former fruit and vegetable warehouse – into active cultural use, as an expansive, inspirational space in and for which artists working across art forms can make and show new work. The new space will help the Fruitmarket realise its ambitions to deliver a year-round multi-art form programme.

Turner prize nominated artist Karla Black’s work will span both the exhibition galleries and the new warehouse space. 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.

The Fruitmarket’s redevelopment has been designed by Edinburgh-based Reiach and Hall  Architects to ensure that the Fruitmarket can continue to operate at the forefront of  contemporary culture for decades to come. Doubled in size, the new Fruitmarket will offer new  opportunities for partnership working with other cultural organisations locally, nationally and  internationally. The new warehouse space will lend itself to theatrical and musical  performances, spoken word and dance events as much as it will to the presentation of visual art.

Fiona Bradley, the Fruitmarket’s Director, said, “We are pleased to be able to share our  opening dates. It’s been a long year of uncertainty and I would like to thank our team, partners,  funders, artists and audiences for their support as we realigned our plans for 2021. In these  challenging times we need to continue to give artists opportunities to make and to show their  work and audiences the chance to experience it – we look forward to welcoming everyone later  in the year.” 

On opening the programme with Karla Black, Fiona added, “There is a defiant force to her  work – it is demanding and disruptive as well as beautiful and inspiring. It is because of this that  we invited her to be the first artist to work in the newly reopened Fruitmarket: we value artistic  experiment and we want her to really challenge the new space. We look forward to sharing her insights with our audience.” 

On the new building, Neil Gillespie, Director, Reiach & Hall Architects, commented, “The original galleries are seen as a series of white spaces, abstract and precise. Surfaces are  smooth and continuous while detail and material expression are suppressed. The palette in the warehouse, by contrast, is dark and sensual. It is a space that relishes the directness and crudeness of the existing steel frame, the strength and texture of the brick walls and the industrial timber floor. The mood is intense, almost visceral. As an ensemble they offer the artist, curator and their audience remarkable contrasting and complementary spaces for art and performance.” 

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts and Creative Scotland said, “Beginning with an unmissable exhibition of work by Karla Black, the expanded, transformed Fruitmarket will be at the heart of Edinburgh’s year-round cultural scene, with new spaces and new opportunities to present the very best in Scottish and international contemporary art. This redevelopment, supported with National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland, marks an exciting new chapter for the Fruitmarket, the artists that it supports and the many visitors that it welcomes throughout the year”

Publishing is a central part of the Fruitmarket’s mission to create opportunities and inspiration for artists and audiences. A new publication will mark Karla Black’s work in the new Fruitmarket, with images of the work in the spaces and essays by former Director of Curatorial Affairs/Senior Curator at the Des Moines Art Center Alison Ferris, who initiated Black’s exhibition there in early 2020; and Fruitmarket Director and curator of the Fruitmarket’s exhibition Fiona Bradley. 

A new text by Karla Black also sets out her hopes for her art. As she says: “I’m trying to use my materials to keep hold of what I think art really is – that raw, animal creative moment.” 

Image captions: 

1.Gallery visualisation, courtesy Reiach & Hall Architects.

2.Karla Black Installation View Palazzo Pisani 2011, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Gisela Capitain Cologne. Photograph Gautier Deblonde


The Fruitmarket is one of the most popular galleries in Scotland, with a sustained record of  audience growth: our audiences have risen from 41,224 in 1994 to nearly 200,000 in 2018. The  Fruitmarket has an international reputation as a successful public organisation. It is committed  to providing exciting opportunities and a supportive environment for artists; to creating free,  welcoming, inspiring and accessible social spaces for people; and to growing and diversifying  the audience for contemporary art and culture. 

Since opening in 1974, the Fruitmarket has shown a wide range of artists, championing  Scottish and international artists including Marina Abramovic, Jean Michel Basquiat, Claire  Barclay, Phyllida Barlow, Louise Bourgeois, John Cage, Jacqueline Donachie, Trenton Doyle  Hancock, Ellen Gallagher, Cai Guo-Qiang, Eva Hesse, David Hockney, Callum Innes, Jim

Lambie, Gabriel Orozco, Shirin Neshat, and Mark Wallinger. During 2020, the Fruitmarket continued to innovate, offering Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s specially commissioned Nightwalk for Edinburgh as a naturally socially distanced outdoor digital experience as gallery doors remained closed. 

Reiach and Hall Architects were formed in 1965 and are one of Scotland’s leading design practices. They are one of only three practices in the UK to have been shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize three years in a row (2015, 2016, 2017). The practice has a portfolio of work across the UK and further afield, in a variety of sectors; from education, health, sport, offices, commercial, masterplanning, and refurbishment to arts and residential. This work ranges in scale from a Maggie’s Centre to major urban interventions. 

Karla Black lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been shown in major museum and commercial gallery exhibitions in the UK and abroad. She is represented by Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne and Modern Art, London, and her work is held in museum collections including Tate, London; migros museum für gegenwartskunst Zürich; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Arts Council Collection, England. In 2011 she represented Scotland at the 54th Biennale in Venice and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize during the same year. 

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


For further information, images or interview requests please contact: 

Nicola Jeffs / 07794 694 754 

Owen O’Leary / 07815 992 658 


Press Release The Fruitmarket Gallery has submitted a planning application to Edinburgh City Council for the refurbishment of its existing gallery building at 45 Market Street along with an ambitious proposal to convert the adjacent warehouse building at 36–39 Market Street into new space for culture.

Press Release Appointment of Reiach and Hall Architects for the Gallery’s redevelopment

Press Release Archive

Press Releases 2019/20
Night Walk for Edinburgh 25 July – 25 August 2019
Senga Nengudi 16 March – 26 May 2019

Press Releases 2018/19
Emma Hart 27 October 2018 –3 February 2019
Tacita Dean 7 July – 30 September 2018
Lee Lozano 3 March – 3 June 2018

Press Releases 2017/18
Jacqueline Donachie 11 November 2017 – 11 February 2018
Jac Leirner 1 July – 22 July 2017
Mark Wallinger Mark 4 March – 4 June 2017

Press Releases 2016/2017
William Kentridge and Vivienne Koorland 19 November 2016 – 19 February 2017
Freelands Award Press Release September 2017
Damián Ortega
, 9 July – 23 October 2016
Sara Barker 12 March – 5 June 2016

Press Releases 2015/2016
Another Minimalism 14 November 2015 – 21 February 2016
Phyllida Barlow, 27 June – 18 October 2015
Possibilities of the Object 6 March – 25 May 2015

Press Releases 2014/2015
Tania Kovats, 15 March – 25 May 2014
Jim Lambie, 27 June – 19 October 2014
Stan Douglas 7 November 2014 – 15 February 2015

Press Releases 2013/ 2014
David Batchelor, 4 May 2013 – 14 July 2013
Gabriel Orozco, 1 August 2013 – 18 October 2013
Louise Bourgeois, 26 October 2013 – 23 February 2014

Press Releases 2012/ 2013
Tony Swain, 19 April – 8 July 2012
Dieter Roth, 2 August 2012 – 14 October 2012
Galápagos, 2 November 2012 – 13 January 2013
Massimo Bartolini, 1 February 2013 – 14 April 2013

Press Releases 2011/ 2012
Narcissus Reflected, 22 April – 26 June 2011
Ingrid Calame, 4 August 2011 – 9 October 2011
Bill Bollinger, 28 October 2011 – 8 January 2012
Anna Barriball, 21 January – 9 April 2012

Martin Creed, Work No. 1059, 2011