Tania Kovats is a British artist whose practice encompasses sculpture, installation and large-scale time-based projects exploring our experience and understanding of landscape; drawing and paying attention to others’ drawings; writing, grouping and gathering things together. Recent major projects have included Meadow (2007), a transported wildflower meadow; The Museum of the White Horse (2007), a travelling landscape museum; Tree (2009), a permanent installation for the Natural History Museum; British Isles (2004) and All the Islands of All the Oceans (2005), two series of drawings; and The Drawing Book – A Survey of Drawing: The Primary Means of Expression. In May 2012 a new, large-scale sculpture, Rivers, was installed in the landscape of Jupiter Artland outside Edinburgh.
The Fruitmarket Gallery is currently preparing a two-part collaboration with Tania Kovats. First, an exhibition which presents an ambitious new work in the context of the artist’s ongoing practice. The new work, All the Seas, is a sculptural presentation of water from all the world’s seas, collected by the artist with the help of a global network of people drawn in by the poetry of the idea of bringing all the waters of the world to one place. Bottles of seawater have been arriving at The Fruitmarket Gallery and at the artist’s studio since late 2012, and the network of connections that the piece represents will grow week by week until late 2013, when the piece itself is made.
The second part of the Gallery’s collaboration with Tania Kovats is a publication, Drawing Water: Drawing as a Mechanism for Exploration, which accompanies the exhibition but is not a catalogue for it. Since publishing The Drawing Book in 2006, Kovats has continued to be attracted to the wealth of drawings of others. She is currently bringing these together in a new publication looking particularly at drawings of exploration and discovery by a wide selection of practitioners, drawings which seek, like All the Seas, to find a way to make sense of the world.
This collaboration between The Fruitmarket Gallery and Tania Kovats itself explores new territory, in a new model for how an institution might work with an artist to make their ideas and enthusiasms available to the public. The exhibition, the new work and the book are independent yet contextualise and amplify each other – the new work is a large scale, participatory sculptural installation and the publication is an intimate vehicle for independent enquiry, but both have to do with gathering and grouping, and with discovering through presenting.