biography

Karla Black was born in Alexandria, Scotland, in 1972. She lives and works in Glasgow.

Black creates abstract sculptures using a combination of everyday materials including powder, soap, gels, and pastes, along with more traditional media such as plaster, chalk, paint, and paper. Carefully arranged on the floor or suspended from the ceiling, they are typically realized on site and include direct evidence of the process of their creation through fingerprints and dust. Delicate, messy, sensuous, and visceral, they testify to a physical experience of the world that lies beyond metaphorical and symbolic references. Poised between form and anti-form, they emerge like transitional states or naturally occurring sediments. In particular, Black regards language as a secondary framework to the deeply material, affective experience that her sculptures evoke, with a fascination for the psychological implications of mess and chaos. Her simultaneously delicate and monumental works are encountered as both sculpture and site, an approach that enables her audience to engage with the materials differently and encourages new ways of looking at the spaces they activate.

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Karla Black was born in Alexandria, Scotland, in 1972. She lives and works in Glasgow.

Black creates abstract sculptures using a combination of everyday materials including powder, soap, gels, and pastes, along with more traditional media such as plaster, chalk, paint, and paper. Carefully arranged on the floor or suspended from the ceiling, they are typically realized on site and include direct evidence of the process of their creation through fingerprints and dust. Delicate, messy, sensuous, and visceral, they testify to a physical experience of the world that lies beyond metaphorical and symbolic references. Poised between form and anti-form, they emerge like transitional states or naturally occurring sediments. In particular, Black regards language as a secondary framework to the deeply material, affective experience that her sculptures evoke, with a fascination for the psychological implications of mess and chaos. Her simultaneously delicate and monumental works are encountered as both sculpture and site, an approach that enables her audience to engage with the materials differently and encourages new ways of looking at the spaces they activate.

Among the prominent institutions that presented her work: Des Moines Art Centre, Des Moines (2020); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2019); The Power Plant, Toronto (2018); Beaux-Arts de Paris and Musée des Archives Nationales, Paris, as part of the Festival d'Automne à Paris (2017); National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2016); IMMA, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2015); Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2014); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (2013); Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2012); 54th Venice Art Biennale (2011); Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (2010); Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2009).

In 2011, the artist represented Scotland at the 54th Venice Biennale and was nominated for the Turner Prize.

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images

Persuade, 2020

Velvet pillow case, oil paint, glass and wood frame

53 × 58,5 × 4 cm

Perpetuate, 2020

Velvet pillow case, oil paint, glass and wood frame

48 × 29 × 3,5 cm

Which Tense, 2016

Cotton wool, sugar paper, paint, ribbon

49 × 67 × 7 cm

Which Tense, 2016 (detail)

Cotton wool, sugar paper, paint, ribbon

49 × 67 × 7 cm

In Tact, 2016

Cotton wool, cellophane, Sellotape, paint, thread

73 × 43 × 25 cm

In Tact, 2016 (detail)

Cotton wool, cellophane, Sellotape, paint, thread

73 × 43 × 25 cm

Type As Form, 2016

Cotton wool, sugar paper, paint, ribbon

46 × 63 × 4 cm

Form as Type, 2016

Cotton wool, sugar paper, paint, ribbon

46 × 69 × 5 cm

Accept For Example, 2016

Cotton wool, sugar paper, paint, ribbon

60 × 100 × 9 cm

The Means To Expect, 2016

Cotton wool, sugar paper, paint, ribbon

57 × 90 × 10 cm

Admitting Amounts, 2016

Cotton wool, paint, cellophane, sellotape

variable dimension: ø 326 cm

Admitting Amounts, 2016 (detail)

Cotton wool, paint, cellophane, sellotape

variable dimension: ø 326 cm

In Case of the Same, 2016

Balsa wood, eyeshadow, cotton wool

93 × 15 × 15 cm

Share Distance, 2016

Balsa wood, eyeshadow, cotton wool

142 × 13 × 13 cm

In Response, 2015

Aluminium tooling foil, nail varnish, petroleum jelly

85 × 18 × 21 cm

Promote Alongside, 2014

Sugar paper, chalk, eyeshadow primer, concealer, face paints, thread

36 × 53 cm

Remind Here, 2014

Sugar paper, chalk, eyeshadow primer, concealer, thread

41 × 56 cm

No Such Provision, 2014

Cellophane, sellotape, paint, nailvarnish

86 × 96 cm

public exhibitions

De Moines Art Center

De Moines, Iowa

Karla Black: 20 Years

8.2 – 17.5.2020

Installation image from Karla Black: 20 Years at the Des Moines Art Center. Image courtesy of the Des Moines Art Center. Photographer: Rick Lozier. © Karla Black

De Moines Art Center

De Moines, Iowa

Karla Black: 20 Years

8.2 – 17.5.2020

Installation image from Karla Black: 20 Years at the Des Moines Art Center. Image courtesy of the Des Moines Art Center. Photographer: Rick Lozier. © Karla Black

De Moines Art Center

De Moines, Iowa

Karla Black: 20 Years

8.2 – 17.5.2020

Installation image from Karla Black: 20 Years at the Des Moines Art Center. Image courtesy of the Des Moines Art Center. Photographer: Rick Lozier. © Karla Black

Schirn Kunsthalle

Frankfurt

Karla Black

25.10.2019 – 19.1.2020

Photo: Simon Vogel

Schirn Kunsthalle

Frankfurt

Karla Black

25.10.2019 – 19.1.2020

Photo: Simon Vogel

The Power Plant

Toronto

Karla Black

20.10 – 30.12.2018

Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

The Power Plant

Toronto

Karla Black

20.10 – 30.12.2018

Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

The Power Plant

Toronto

Karla Black

20.10 – 30.12.2018

Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Ecole de Beaux-Arts

Paris

Festival d'Automne à Paris

20.10.2017 – 7.1.2018

Musee des Archives Nationales

Paris

Festival d'Automne à Paris

20.10.2017 – 7.1.2018

57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia

Venice

2017-05-13

Viva Arte Viva

13.5 – 26.11.2017

Courtesy: La Biennale di Venezia Photo: Italo Rondinella.

Scotland + Venice

54th Venice Art Biennale

Palazzo Pisani, Venice

Karla Black

2.6 – 27.11.2011

press

Karla Black

Des Moines Art Center

Travis Jeppesen

Artforum

January 2020

Karla Black at The Power Plant, Toronto

Mousse

December 7, 2018

Karla Black

Galleria Raffaella Cortese | Via Stradella 7

Alessandra Pioselli

Artforum

January 30, 2017

Karla Black: Her bright materials

Hannah Duguid

Independent

April 17, 2012

Karla Black

Lauren O'Neill-Butler

Artforum

October 13, 2009

Karla Black

Jonathan Griffin

Frieze

September 9, 2008

publications

Karla Black + Kishio Suga: A New Order

Julie-Ann Delaney

National Galleries of Scotland

Edinburgh

2017

Karla Black: Practically in Shadow

Text by Kate Kraczon

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

2015

Karla Black

Veit Görner, Susanne Figner, Barry Schwabsky

Verlag Der Buchhandlung Walther Konig

Köln

2014

Karla Black – Venice 2011

Karla Black

The Fruitmarket Gallery

Edinburgh

2011

It's Proof That Counts

Edited by Annette Hans, Heike Munder, Paul Nesbitt, Michael Stanley

JRP|Ringier

Zürich

2010

video


Interview with Karla Black

2020

Courtesy of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

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