In a bid to restore luster to the worn and vandalized steps, in 2010 The Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh commissioned British artist Martin Creed, winner of the 2001 Turner Prize, with its restoration
The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh is located between Waverley Station, Scotland’s main train station, and The Scotsman Steps, which have been linking the Old and New Towns since 1899. In a bid to restore luster to the worn and vandalized steps, in 2010 The Fruitmarket Gallery commissioned British artist Martin Creed, winner of the 2001 Turner Prize, with its restoration. The completed work took on the name of Work No. 1059. For a year, the artist covered each of the 104 steps with a different kind of marble, sourced from all over the world, playing with light, color and material.
The Fruitmarket Gallery is a space dedicated to showcasing and promoting contemporary art in the Scottish capital, crowned as UNESCO’s City of Literature in 2004. It is located at 45 Market Street, in what was a fruit and vegetable market in the 1930s. The building became an art gallery in 1974 and now exhibits the works of emerging Scottish and international artists. Three or four exhibits are hosted every year, and an in-depth video is produced in collaboration with the artist and the curator for each one. The number of visitors continues to grow: from 41,224 in 1994 to almost 200,000 in 2018. Inside the exhibition space one can also find a coffee shop, Milk, and a bookshop specializing in art, architecture, design and photography, with a section dedicated to children’s literature.
«Imagine you’ve missed the last train. Is there one piece of writing that you would want with you for company in the small hours?». This is the question put by Ryan Gander and Jonathan P. Watts to a range of artists and designers, including Marina Abramovic, Paul Clinton e Tom Godfrey. The result is a collection of 281 texts—a library for our times. First launched at Frieze London 2018, The Annotated Reader was on display at The Fruitmarket Gallery from July 2019. It will be the last exhibition for the Edinburgh gallery before it closes for renovation until 2020.
In 2011, The Fruitmarket Gallery received £100,000 to develop a renovation plan for its exhibition spaces from Creative Scotland, the development body for the arts and creative industries in Scotland. For the second stage, the investment capital reached £1,400,000. Architecture firm Hoskins Architects was given the first assignment in 2013, the year in which the gallery began to take an interest in the acquisition of the disused warehouse at 36-39 Market Street. The Heritage Lottery Fund abandoned the project due to lack of funding, followed by Hoskins Architects.
A new renovation proposal was presented to the Edinburgh City Council in 2018, including a plan for the conversion of the adjacent warehouse for the creation of a larger art center. The £3,750,000 project was entrusted to Reiach and Hall Architects, three-time candidates (2015, 2016 and 2017) for the RIBA Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture.
Founded in 1965 in Edinburgh, the studio is dedicated to designing and implementing architectural solutions for educational, cultural, and commercial spaces, as well as leisure, residential and business complexes. Split over two levels, the space will become an artistic and cultural hub: there will be installations, talks, and musical, theatrical and dance performances.
While renovations are taking place, the gallery will stay active through off-site projects. During the Edinburgh International Festival in August, Canadian filmmaker duo Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller will present their video walk Night Walk for Edinburgh. Visitors will have a tablet that will guide them through images and sounds on a night route through the streets of Edinburgh.
Fiona Bradley is the director of The Fruitmarket Gallery. With a Master’s Degree in Art History from Cambridge University and a Master’s and a PhD from the Courtauld Institute in London, Bradley began her career at the Tate Liverpool gallery of modern and contemporary art, and at the Hayward Gallery inside Southbank Center in London. She curated Douglas Gordon’s solo exhibition, What Have I Done. In addition to having served on the jury of the Turner Prize in 2007 and the MaxMara Art Prize for Women in 2016, Fiona Bradley was a member of the Selection Committee for the British Pavilion at the 58th International Venice Biennale.
These rooms have showcased the writings and drawings of Louise Bourgeois, including the 220 Insomnia Drawings made during a period of insomnia in which the artist explored the hidden side of her personality – and Thinking in Circles, made in 2014 by the Mexican Gabriel Orozco: in which the artist delves into the circle as a recurring motif in his career. The gallery promotes Scottish art. On the occasion of the collective exhibition Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland (2014), which counted on more than 100 artists and 60 galleries to narrate the evolution of the local art scene, The Fruitmarket Gallery presented a solo exhibition by Jim Lambie.
Since 1999, Lambie has been using colored vinyl tape to make floor installations (Touch Zobop, 2003). The vinyl tape, an everyday material applied in continuous lines, has the power to transform the dynamics of space, changing a quiet gallery space into an energetic and emotional space of sensory pleasure. In 2011, The Fruitmarket Gallery curated Scotland’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale, presenting the work of Karla Black in an exhibition that was highlighted on the front page of The New York Times. To represent her country, the artist worked with materials such as plaster, earth, powder, wax, eye shadow, paper, cellophane drapes and soap blocks, to create pastel-tinted landscapes that toe the line between reality and fantasy.
Text Giulia Vigano
45 Market St
Edinburgh, United Kingdom