Jyll Bradley is a British artist rapidly gaining an international following for her art which draws on systems and structures of growth as metaphors for cultural exchange, place and identity. Interacting with their sites and the people who visit them, her recent ambitious public realm commissions include Green/Light (For M.R.) for the 2014 Folkestone Triennial and Dutch/Light (2017) for Turner Contemporary. Light is a key element and activator in all Bradley’s work.
For Pardes, the first stand-alone commission for the Fruitmarket’s new Warehouse, Bradley has taken inspiration from a number of systems that have contributed to the rich history of Scottish growing. The work pays homage to the structures created by historic Scottish fruit growers to make the most of both the light and the natural warmth in the bricks of a walled fruit orchard, and to the cultural heritage of the Fruitmarket as an old fruit and vegetable warehouse. The title comes from an ancient name for a walled fruit garden that gave rise to the familiar word ‘paradise’.
While the form of Pardes owes something to the leaning design of historic glasshouses for growing fruit, its impact is primarily that of a minimal abstract sculpture. Six beams made in wood and live-edged Perspex fly through the space from ceiling to floor. Lit from within, they create a canopy that envelops the viewer in warm, green light, sustaining us through the darkest time of the year from late November to Spring.
Bradley is interested in the life her sculptures take on once they are installed and outwith her control. As she says, ‘Sculptures are more than ever out in the world, anchoring us to a sense of place and belonging. When they work they become our sculptures, for us. They create spaces’. This is especially poignant, perhaps in the context of the separations enforced on us by COVID 19. She is keen for Pardes to be a welcoming, gathering place: ‘I have come to realise that far from being a passive thing in the world, the work is a living part of the world – changed by light, weather and time. An all-seeing, all-hearing entity that both reside in and captures the intricacy of the world and human relations around it with the potential to share back something new of ourselves and our place. The sculpture will be a meditation upon the interconnectedness of nature, culture, people and place: the ethical connection we have to art and each other.’
In keeping with this, Jyll Bradley’s Pardes is an invitation as much as a sculpture, enticing us to inhabit it individually and in groups, in silent contemplation or for joyous, noisy events. This will include projects with dancers and musicians that are initiated through ongoing conversations between Bradley and other artists; screenings of Bradley’s films which are an increasingly important part of her practice and enact her interest in collaborative, cross-art-form working; as well as opening the space up to our audience more widely as a site for social and cultural events, and for schools and community engagement.
“We love to see how artists react to the new Warehouse space and are excited to present Jyll Bradley’s Pardes – our first stand-alone installation in the space. Bradley’s light-filled installation will be a place for reflection, contemplation and co-creation in the dark winter months.”Fruitmarket Director Fiona Bradley
Jyll Bradley Pardes Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, 27 November 2021 – 18 April 2022 www.fruitmarket.co.uk
Running concurrently in the main gallery space from 13th November to 2nd May at Fruitmarket will be Howardena Pindell: A New Language the artist’s first solo institutional exhibition in the UK and the second exhibition to take place in the new Fruitmarket, Edinburgh. The exhibition brings together work from the artist’s six-decade long career. Through a selection of paintings, works on paper, video and a publication featuring Pindell’s own writing alongside newly commissioned essays about her work, it celebrates her work and its response to racism and white supremacy from the 1970s to now.
About the Artist