I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
The moon as photographed by NASA'a Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter Camera. Courtesy NASA. Image via The New York Times.
COPENHAGEN — Outside Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art on a recent late-summer morning, a few sunstruck visitors were sprawling on the turf of the sculpture garden, between monumental outdoor works by Alexander Calder and Richard Serra.
Scottish-born multi-disciplinary artist Katie Paterson teases out facets of overwhelming concepts—such as interplanetary time differences, the history of our planet, and the brevity of human lifespans—and makes them digestible. Through her immersive installations, text-based pieces and sculptures, she takes the audience from the massive to the minute, from the cosmological to the deeply personal.
Since graduating with a BA (Hons) from Edinburgh College of Art in 2004, and with a MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2007, Paterson has become known for her research-based, conceptually driven process, and her Romantic, poetic and coolly minimalist presentation style.
Paterson uses both everyday and advanced technologies to connect her audiences with the sublime—such as faraway stars, planets, natural phenomena and meteorological events—as seen in Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon) (2007), when she converted Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata into Morse code and transmitted it to the lunar surface and back to a player piano.
Paterson is also knowing for reimagining and repurposing ordinary machines and everyday systems. For Vatnajökull (the sound of) (2007–8), she installed a microphone underneath a glacier and broadcast the sounds of the ice melting, live, to any phone that called 0775 700 1122; in her month-long project Streetlight Storm (2009), she set up the lamps on Deal Pier in Kent, England, to flicker anytime there was a lightning strike on Earth; and in Timepieces (Solar System) (2014), she calibrated nine wall clocks to tell the time on the planets in our solar system and on Earth's Moon.
Paterson regularly collaborates with experts to realise her artworks and expand her practice. She has worked together with technicians at the lighting manufacturer OSRAM to take spectral measurements of moonlight and apply it to a custom-made bulb (Light bulb to Simulate Moonlight ); and for All the Dead Stars (2009), she had leading cosmologists and 'supernova hunters' assist her in mapping the locations of just under 27,000 dead stars.
Similarly, Paterson has worked with nanotechnologists to carve a grain of sand down to just 0.00005 mm across, and then tossed it into the Sahara for Inside this desert lies the tiniest grain of sand (2010). In 2013, for Fossil Necklace, she enlisted a specialist stonecutter to hand-carve 170 fossils she had collected, found or bought, into tiny beads. She has also used advanced telescopic technologies to source thousands of detailed images of solar eclipses for her project Totality (2016). Whether consulting specialist space agencies, biologists or architects, or using sophisticated materials, Paterson produces works that prompt viewers to examine their place on Earth and their understandings of time and their own ephemerality.
Paterson has participated in both group and solo exhibitions throughout the United Kingdom and internationally—from London to Edinburgh, New York, Seoul, Berlin and San Francisco. Her artwork has been shown at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney. In 2014, she received the Visual Art award at The South Bank Sky Arts Awards, and in 2010, she became University College London's first artist in residence in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She is also an Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh University.
This week gave me a chance to consider human intervention in our environment. If Sondra Perry’s opening at the Serpentine uses digital tools to make our dark history extremely contemporary, Open Space Contemporary’s Adventitious Encounters exploits its location to explore our desire for nature in a technologically saturated world. The former...
The newly formed Holt-Smithson Foundation has made its first move to secure the legacy of the pioneering land artist Nancy Holt (1938–2014), better known for safeguarding the work of her husband, Robert Smithson, after he died in 1973 than for promoting her own.
I have the impression that in the Czech Republic education is more classically based than in some other European countries. For example, when it comes to literature, people learn the classics, they know what's what. Is it similar with the teaching of art in the Czech Republic, say compared to here in the UK?Ten or 15 years ago, when I was at the...
Drawing on the legacies of two artists whose lives and work were intertwined, the new Holt-Smithson Foundation has been established to honour Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson and promulgate their ideas.
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