Alex Hartley

This article is from 2007.

Photographer and sculptor breaking down architectural barriers

This year’s Festival will see the Fruitmarket Gallery boarded up by a giant poster-style replication of the real façade hidden underneath. The screen-printed faux frontage has been created by artist Alex Hartley, and comes with seven climbing routes mapped out across it. From a distance, the pixelated veneer will take on the semblance of the building beneath. Close-up it will just become an abstracted pattern, and the notion of urban architecture will give way to the cityscape as mere surface.

Using the architectural layout of the city as an obstacle course is known as ‘buildering’. As seasoned climber Hartley points out, ‘Buildering first started in the 1850s in Cambridge when students wanted to defy their curfews.’ Today, the tradition has been taken on by skateboarders and balletic Parisian Parkour doyens as they break down the barriers within the city. Inside the gallery, Hartley’s photographic series, entitled ‘Don’t want to be part of your world’ takes the technocratic architecture of the Archigram years and displays it as utopian vision gone awry. And two structural sculptures with more than a nod to Miesian International-style architecture invite you in, but offer no entrance. (Claire Mitchell)

The Fruitmarket Gallery, Market Street, 0131 225 2383, 27 Jul–21 Oct, free.

Alex Hartley

  • 4 stars

This exhibition begins on the outside, on the façade of the Fruitmarket Gallery (clad in an image of itself) which Hartley, an enthusiastic 'builderer' (climbing on buildings), marked with routes that he has climbed as preparation for the exhibition. Inside the gallery, Hartley's photographs examine the relationship an…

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