States of Time | The Fruitmarket Gallery

The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market St, Edinburgh
Exhibition running until October 23
Open Monday – Saturday 11am–6pm, Sunday 11–5pm

States of Time at the Fruitmarket Gallery is a love letter to the medium of clay. Ortega, one of Mexico’s most important artists, creates seemingly impossible shapes out of clay and plays with our ideas and conceptions of elements, technology and the forces of nature.

Spread across two floors, the exhibition first presents you with examples of Ortega’s classic style. Broken Sac is a collection of clay eggs ranging in size from tiny to enormous, created with a special tool of the artist’s own creation, inspired by the behaviour of hermit crabs. This piece shares a room with Eroded Valley which shows the progression of a river valley’s erosion over time across four individual sculptures. Carved entirely from piles of bricks, the sculptures are detailed in the extreme and are incredibly impressive.

The upstairs is largely occupied by Lava Waves a collection of jaw-dropping clay sculptures of waves. Ortega captures the look of the waves so perfectly that it is hard to believe that they are made from fired clay. This compliment can also be paid to his Icebergs, glazed, fired and painted sculptures of icebergs. They resemble their model in form, but not in style, with each being highly decorative and eye-catching.

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The highlight of the exhibition however, is undoubtedly Abrasive Objects, which is described a partial history of hand tools, from mortars and pestles to digital cameras and microchips sculpted entirely from clay in exquisite detail. When viewing them laid out end-to-end, it is hard to marvel at both the artist’s skill and human creativity as a whole.

States of Time runs until the 23rd of October at the Fruitmarket Gallery on Market Street and entry is free. There is still plenty of time to see it I cannot recommend it highly enough!