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Press Release 17.12.19

The Fruitmarket Gallery announces plans for reopening and inaugural programme including the first selected survey of Karla Black’s work in the UK.

  • Gallery expansion expected to be due for completion in Summer 2020.
  • Scottish Artist Karla Black presents new work alongside existing sculptures selected to represent the kinds of work Black has been making since 2000.
  • Fruitmarket Gallery to host dance, poetry and a range of performance to become Scotland’s newest contemporary arts venue.


The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK, today announce plans for 2020 when the gallery will reopen with their existing galleries refreshed and expanded into a large adjacent warehouse in a £3.75m capital development. A major exhibition by one of Scotland’s most renowned sculptors, 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 where artists can make new work in and for the Fruitmarket Gallery, creating a regular programme of Fruitmarket Gallery commissions curated in-house. The new space will realise the gallery’s ambitions to deliver a year-round multi-art form programme from a venue at the heart of the capital. It is expected that the gallery will reopen in August 2020.

The new Fruitmarket Gallery will open with a major exhibition of work by Glasgow-based artist and Turner prize nominated Karla Black across 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. The renovation and expansion will offer the artist inspirational, materially resonant spaces in which to make and site her work. The exhibition will include two major new commissions for the warehouse and the upper exhibition gallery, with existing work showing the range of Black’s practice borrowed from public and private collections gathered together on the ground floor.

In the new installations, Black will bring her understanding of how people relate to the materials she uses to bear on how people relate to space. She will work horizontally in the Fruitmarket’s light and airy upper gallery, spreading a carpet of coloured powder across the floor. In contrast she will play with the height of the new warehouse space, hanging painted and powdered cellophane off the beams and coating the floor with reflective Vaseline to bounce light around the space. These works will be contextualised within Black’s practice by the existing works, a group of standing and hanging volumes and planes in each of the artist’s signature supports, worked on in her inimitable materials palette.

The new Fruitmarket Gallery will offer new opportunities for partnership working with other cultural organisations locally, nationally and internationally. The 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. The redevelopment will ensure that the Fruitmarket can continue to operate at the forefront of contemporary culture for decades to come. The architects who will develop the site are Edinburgh based Reich and Hall.

Fiona Bradley, Fruitmarket Gallery Director, said
, “This is an exciting year for us, as we work towards opening an inspirational new space for creative, collaborative working and our refreshed and renovated existing building. We can’t wait to work with Karla Black. 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.  

As we work towards the reopening of the Fruitmarket we are using poetry, drawing, dance, film and performance to reflect on the spaces of the gallery from the beginning of the development through the refurbishment, marking the transition into the new and renewed spaces.”


Since opening in 1974 the gallery has shown a wide range of artists, championing Scottish and international artists including David Hockney, Jean Michele Basquiat, John Cage, Senga Negudi, Mark Wallinger, Jacqueline Donachie, Louise Bourgeois, Callum Innes, Gabriel Orozco, Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono and Jeff Koons.

Two cross artform projects have also evolved in this year of change, with The Fruitmarket Gallery commissioning creative responses in both writing and dance in 2019 and which will be made public in 2020. For Beginning a line beginning a building artist/poet Rhona Warwick Paterson and dancer/choreographer Eve Mutso have collaborated to make a live archive of transition, using poem, drawing, dance, film and performance to respond to the fabric of The Fruitmarket Gallery as it enters into a new phase and a new set of walls.  More will be revealed during the redevelopment and when the building is open to the public.

For Writers’ Shift, the Fruitmarket Gallery has invited poets Janette Ayachi, Callie Gardner, Jane Goldman, Iain Morrison and Tom Pow, all of whom have a history of engagement with the gallery, will work together and with Fruitmarket staff on a guided process of writing to record the year of change, reflecting on past achievements and extrapolating directions that the organisation may take in its renewed spaces.

As the Open Out capital development project continues Fruitmarket Gallery have revived Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s Night Walk for Edinburgh, one of the biggest hits of the Edinburgh International Festival 2019. This unique experience takes you for a walk through Edinburgh’s Old Town, with an artist’s voice in your ears and magical scenes on a screen in your hand. A free event, Night Walk for Edinburgh runs from 16 November to 31 Jan. Book now





The Fruitmarket Gallery 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 Gallery 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.

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 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 nomi­nated for the Turner Prize during the same year. Her works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions.

Eve Mutso is a freelance dancer and choreographer born in Estonia and living in Glasgow. She is a former Principal Dancer of Scottish Ballet, where she danced 2003 – 2016. In recent years she has created a number of choreographic works performed by herself and others both in the UK and overseas. She has also performed as a guest artist with both Scottish Ballet and Estonian National Ballet. Her latest work, 111 (collaboration with Joel Brown from Candoco Dance Company) enjoyed a sold-out run at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She and Joel can also be spotted in Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s immersive artwork, Night Walk for Edinburgh.

Rhona Warwick Paterson is an artist and writer from Glasgow.  She was awarded the Scottish Book Trust Prize for Poetry in 2018 and has been appointed the Associate Artist for Gallery of Modern Art (2019-2021) and Research Fellow for Theatrum Mundi, London. Recent performances have included Steel and Other Elastics, Hollybush Gardens, Tethered, Cubitt Gallery, At her Kitchen Table, Friday Dance Party (GoMA) and From Narrow Provinces: Clay and Voice at Campleline Gallery.  She has collaborated with artists Edmund de Waal, Clare Woods, Tessa Lynch, Corin Sworn and Martin Boyce on poetic responses to their practice.  She was commissioned to mark Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary with three poems for three dances. Rhona is now working on two new site-responsive choreopoems with the acclaimed choreographer/dancer Eve Mutso for 2020/21. Chapbooks Putty and Armatures are both published by slo-mo books.

Janette Ayachi
Janette’s first full collection Hand Over Mouth Music has just been published by Liverpool University Press. Based in Edinburgh, she was one of the readers who took part in our One Night Without Us: Against Xenophobia event, during our exhibition of work by Vivienne Koorland and William Kentridge. Her work is full of powerfully seductive voices, and she brings a sustained lyrical approach to the way she tells stories in her poems. She has previously worked as a Gallery Attendant at National Galleries of Scotland and her poems comfortably and regularly engage with art.

Callie Gardner
Callie recently published the book-length poem Naturally it is Not, a ‘poem in four letters’ which nods to Gertrude Stein in its title as it pieces together four epistolary poems to chart a year spent travelling between different contexts. They run a regular reading group at Glasgow’s queer bookshop Category is Books and were chosen as a younger writer who writes well across longer forms and is broad in the space they create for other voices within their texts.

Dr Jane Goldman
Jane is Reader in Avant Garde poetics and Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow and a recent contributor to Women on the Road, the Fruitmarket’s event and subsequent publication which presented poets’ responses to Emma Hart’s exhibition Banger. Jane was chosen for Writers’ Shift because of her track record of writing well about visual arts and her experience of collaborative writing.

Iain Morrison
Iain published his first collection I’m a Pretty Circler, with Glasgow’s Vagabond Voices press in 2018, and the same year was writer-in-residence at the University of Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery, charting their move from their original building on campus into the city centre, with a suite of film poems. He is the Fruitmarket’s Enterprise Engagement Curator and is leading on the project’s organisation.

Tom Pow
One of Scotland’s senior poets, Tom is Honorary Research Fellow at University of Glasgow Dumfries. His poetry books include Dear Alice ¬– Narratives of Madness which traces the former life of the building he worked in, Glasgow University’s Crichton Campus, a former lunatic asylum, and Concerning the Atlas of Scotland, which arose from a six-month residency at the National Library of Scotland. He read most recently at the Fruitmarket during our exhibition of work by Senga Nengudi. Tom was chosen because of his success at working with institutions, his breadth of writing for audiences from children to adults, his stature, and for the open structures he creates, from festivals to poems.