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Conversations in Letters and Lines: Edinburgh Fruitmarket Gallery

I've been working, walking and roaming my birthplace for the last couple of days. I always feel like I'm coming home whenever I am fortunate to get the chance to return to Edinburgh. I've been up north exploring the Highlands, Borders and working with a Silversmith Artist in her studio. I always try and get to some of the galleries when I'm up here, my favourite being the Edinburgh Fruit Market gallery. The Current Exhibition 'Conversations in Letters and Lines, William Kentridge and Vivienne Koorland is on display on until Mid Feb. I met up with my friend Izzy to do some drawing round Edinburgh and go to the exhibition.

The curation of the exhibition brings the work together of these visual artists who are both from South Africa. They first met in the mid-1970s as students at University and have had a continued dialogue about their work ever since. This exhibition documents that relationship between the two artists and shows how they have informed each others practice over the last 40 years. I was particularly interested to see the animations and drawings of Kentridge whose work I have come across before. I am a huge admirer of his ability to create work that evokes such strong emotions through the essence of a mark and layering.

He is known for his animations where the narratives remain complex and ambiguous. His work pushes drawn, rubbing out and re-drawn elements.


Image belongs to William Kentridge: Work documenting layers of the landscapes which have been created by layering mediums together. His drawings have a real organised chaos about them with how marks applied to the page. It's this fragmented motif which makes his work feel present and alive.

I had not come across the work of Koorland before, but her work has a dominating presence within the gallery space. She combines found imagery and texts together, and it is this sense of fragmentation and piecing sections together that draws similarities between their work and connects elements of the exhibition together. As you walk around the exhibition their friendship is mapped out through echoes of imagery each other uses.

Below is a video of Kentridge's work and automatic writing approach.



Images of Kooland's work. Her work was huge in scale and balance against the wall which I thought was thoughtfully considered. Her combination of media and mark-making is successful in creating layers of meaning in combination with text and image. 




Izzy and Koorlands work, Fruit Market Gallery, Edinburgh




She pieces fragments together which is something I resonate with in my own practice. She is working with a muted colour palette and carefully considered phrases. I find the scale of her work inspiring (as going bigger is something that scares me, but I want to get right!). Large stitches join the fragments together and the tactile qualities of her work draw the eye in to appreciate every detail of the piece.

To see more about the exhibition visit the Fruitmarket Gallery Website here

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