The Herald Magazine - - Arts VISUAL -

Art im­i­tates life on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. The week be­fore Christ­mas, en route to Waver­ley Sta­tion af­ter a meet­ing, I dropped into Ed­in­burgh’s Fruit­mar­ket Gallery to check out a new ex­hi­bi­tion of work by sculp­tor Emma Hart. Strad­dling the ground floor space and the airy up­per level, it brings to­gether two re­cent bod­ies of work. The first is Mamma Mia, a ma­jor in­stal­la­tion made fol­low­ing a res­i­dency in Italy, and the sec­ond is Banger, made as a re­sponse to both Mamma Mia and the airy up­per space in the Fruit­mar­ket Gallery.

There’s a teas­ing tech­no­log­i­cal bent to Hart’s work which is play­ful and pro­vok­ing. Mamma Mia is made up of ten large shiny ce­ramic dome-like ob­jects with a dec­o­rated in­te­rior which hang from the ceil­ing. An 11th one lies on the floor. They project large comic book speech bub­bles onto the floor. At in­ter­vals, some of them are sliced through by the shad­ows of ceil­ing fans made from gi­ant cut­lery. There’s an ev­ery­day space-age feel to it.

Up­stairs, Banger moves us sub­tly from the do­mes­tic to the out­side world; namely a Hart-like view of the ways in which we nav­i­gate our lives by car. The first work you en­counter is a riff on a fa­mil­iar sight; head­lights in a rear-view mir­ror. It in­tro­duces you to the rest of the work.

A few days later, I spot­ted a Tweet from a for­mer col­league, the es­timable jour­nal­ist Melanie Reid, in which she joked her “new girl crush” was writer Ali

Smith. Reid had been to an event at the Fruit­mar­ket at which Smith had read aloud her chap­ter from a book on Banger. The story was, said Reid, a “brain-stretch­ing cross­over of lit­er­a­ture and art”. In­trigued, I tuned into Smith read­ing her story on the Fruit­mar­ket’s Face­book page. I won’t spoil it but it’s about a car that’s too smart for its own good. As I said, art im­i­tates life.

Emma Hart: Banger, The Fruit­mar­ket Gallery, 45 Mar­ket Street, Ed­in­burgh, EH1 1DF, 0131 225 2383, www.fruit­mar­, un­til Fe­bru­ary 3

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