Katie Paterson, Ideas, 2014. Waterjet cut silver. Photo © John McKenzie. Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
“Katie Paterson is an astronomical artist – in the fullest sense of the word. The sky is not the limit for her. It is the beginning.” Kate Kellaway, the Observer
In spring 2019 Turner Contemporary will stage the largest UK exhibition of Scottish artist Katie Paterson to date, paired with a group of works by JMW Turner.
Over the last 10 years, Katie Paterson has developed an extraordinary and unique practice. She has worked with NASA to recreate the smell of Saturn’s moon, Titan (Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole), 2015), and the European Space Agency to send a meteorite back into space (Campo del Cielo,Field of the Sky, 2012-1014). Of such collaborations she says, “I am asking people to access all they know.”
Paterson (born 1981, Glasgow) first captured imaginations in one of her earliest works, Vatnajökull (the sound of). From anywhere in the world you could call a mobile phone number to be connected to a rapidly eroding glacier in Iceland and listen to it melting.
Paterson is currently working on her most ambitious project to date. Future Library, 2014 – 2114, has seen her plant 1000 trees in a forest near Oslo which will supply the paper for an anthology of books, one century from now. A new text will be written each year by a different author, kept in trust and not read by anyone until 2114, when the library is complete.
This exhibition will include the majority of Paterson’s existing works, which explore our relationship as humans with the vastness and wonder of the universe; our desire to see the un-seeable, to know the un-knowable.
Like Paterson, JMW Turner was fascinated by the sublime wonder of nature, capturing the changing and atmospheric qualities of light, air and weather in his paintings, while also being deeply curious about science and the physical world. Paterson has selected a group of over 20 Turner watercolours and paintings to be interspersed with her works.
In spring 2019, Paterson will launch First There is a Mountain, a set of 'buckets and spades' in the form of world mountains, from which the public will build mountains of sand across the UK coastline. Turner Contemporary is one of 25 venues to host the event.
Paterson's new book, A place that exists only in moonlight, will be published to coincide with the exhibition. The book will comprise over one hundred short texts, a series of artworks to exist in the imagination.
"Katie Paterson can take you out of your realm... she is so original, engaging and expansive. She makes us realise how inconsequential we are in relation to the universe.” Cornelia Parker
Katie Paterson, Totality, 2016. Photo © Flora Bartlett. Courtesy of the Arts Council Collection. Installation view Somerset House.