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Thoughtless Gestures + Obsessive Beauty: Scotland + Venice present Karla Black, Venice Biennale

Taking place across a six-month period, from June to November, this year’s Biennale di Venezia seeks to understand the significance of art in a globalised world. In a contemporary artistic culture where the concept of anti-art has passed, the Biennale’s programme pays particular tribute to The Age of Enlightenment, the idealisation of reason and European scholarly practice that characterised it. Aiming to highlight the Biennale’s place in a globalised world, the Biennale welcomes new country participants, which include Andorra, Saudi Arabia, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Haiti.

As the world’s largest and most prestigious showcase for contemporary visual arts, Scotland + Venice present a solo presentation by Karla Black. Black (b.1972) lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been shown in major museum and commercial gallery exhibitions in the UK and abroad. Recent solo exhibitions include Karla Black at Capitain Petzel, Berlin, Karla Black: Sculptures with paintings by Bet Low at Modern Art Oxford and Structure and Material at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield.

Curated by The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2011 Turner Prize nominee Karla Black presents an exhibition of new abstract sculptures that hover between energy and mass – pulverised, atomised, piled, layered, supported, suspended and spilling out onto the floor; a mass of colour and material that fills the 15th century Venetian Paazzo Pisano. These ‘almost objects’ have been intimately and painstakingly worked in situ by the artist into detailed aesthetic forms. While not exactly site-specific, these works have been made with their physical and conceptual context in mind. In this exhibition Black presents forms and compositions in Vaseline and marble dust, sugar paper and eye-shadow, soil, powder paint and plaster, polythene, cellophane and soap, in crumbling, peeling washes or dustings of high key mid-colours like peach, baby blue and pastel pink. Black describes these works as being caught between thoughtless gestures and seriously obsessive attempts at beauty.

As the fifth presentation from Scotland + Venice, a partnership between Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland, Karla Black’s presentation builds upon the critical success of previous projects which have features artists including Turner Prize winner Simon Starling and nominees Cathy Wilkes, Jim Lambie and Lucy Skaer, and last year presented the first solo exhibition for Scotland at the Venice Biennale with the work of Martin Boyce.

Black’s forthcoming exhibitions include Turner Prize 2011 at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (21 October – 8 January 2012) and Georgia O’Keeffe/Karla Black at Kunsthalle Vienna (2013). For further information and visitor information visit scotlandandvenice.com

Aesthetica Magazine
We hope you enjoying reading the Aesthetica Blog, if you want to explore more of the best in contemporary arts and culture you should read us in print too. In the spirit of celebration, Issue 41 includes a piece on Guggenheimn Bilbao where the Luminous Interval features internationally acclaimed artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith and Damien Hirst, ArtAngel’s new commission at MIF, Bruce Nauman’s retrospective at The Kunsthalle Mannheim and Cory Arcangel’s Pro Tools at the Whitney in NYC. You can buy it today by calling +44(0)1904 479 168. Even better, subscribe to Aesthetica and save 20%. Go on, enjoy!

Image:
Karla Black, Installation View, Palazzo Pisani (S.Marina) at the Venice Biennale, 2011
Courtesy the artist and Gallery Gisela Capitain.
Photo: Gautier Deblonde

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3 Comments
  1. Anonymous

    Hats off to karla. What a remarkable show.

  2. senegence

    I have never seen such a talented person before. What a art of piece you have presented.

  3. Aesthetica

    Many thanks for your comments about Karla's work. You probably know but Baltic in Gateshead are presenting the Turner Prize 2011 and we're looking forward to seeing some of Karla's work on display there. It opens 21 October – http://www.balticmill.com

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