The artist’s abstract sculptures explore material and physical experience as a way of communicating and understanding the world around us. She is interested in ideas of play and early childhood learning as well as the raw creative moment when art comes into being. She explores the capabilities of materials as well as the limits of what sculpture can be.

Usually made in response to the space where they will be shown, and often created with ephemeral materials, her works have ranged from delicate cellophane, paper and polythene hanging pieces suspended with ribbon or tape to large-scale floor-based sculptures made from plaster, chalk powder and soil.

Black skillfully draws out and plays with the physical properties of everyday materials such as soap, eye shadow, cotton wool, petroleum jelly, toothpaste and lip-gloss. She uses these in combination with traditional art supplies to invite us to understand them in a new and different way. Although many of the materials used may serve as a reminder of the intimate, daily acts that are commonly associated with women, such as applying make-up and domestic chores, Black does not select them for this reason. Instead her concern is with the physical merits of matter: its texture, colour and feel, rather than any cultural connotations. Similarly the artist’s regular use of pale pastel colours, in particular her fondness for baby blues and pinks, is not intended as a comment on gender.

Karla Black
Karla Black
Alexandria, 1972

Past Exhibitions

Karla Black Solo Show

Galleria Raffaella Cortese
23/11/2016 — 25/02/2017

Karla Black: Principles Of Admitting

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
09/12/2016 — 05/02/2017

20 – An Exhibition in Three Acts

15/10/2016 — 05/02/2017

Just What Is Not Is Possible

Museum Folkwang
08/06/2013 — 28/07/2013

Solo Shows


Karla Black, David Zwirner, New York

Karla Black, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan

Karla Black, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne

Karla Black and Kishio Suga, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh [two-person exhibition] Karla Black: Principles of Admitting, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich

[part of 20 – An Exhibition in Three Acts] [catalogue title Now-Tomorrow-Flux. An Anthology on the Museum of Contemporary Art]


Karla Black, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin


Karla Black, David Zwirner, New York

Karla Black, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan Karla Black, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London


Karla Black, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne Karla Black, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Karla Black, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Group Shows


Entangled: Threads & Making, Turner Contemporary, Margate, England


I still believe in miracles: 30 years of Inverleith House, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Mystics and Rationalists, Modern Art Oxford, England [part of KALEIDOSCOPE]



My Blueberry Night, Casarotto di Albegno, Bergamo [organized by Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo]
Now, At The Latest: Videos and Other Attractions of the Evn Collection, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Alexandria Country of birth: UK Date of birth: 1972 Lives in: Glasgow, Scotland