“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.
“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 & JMW Turner will be on view at Turner Contemporary, in Margate, Kent, from 26 January – 6 May 2019.
Conceived by Paterson as an ‘exhibition of ideas’, this display will include the majority of Paterson’s existing works, which explore our relationship with the vastness and wonder of the universe; our desire to see the un-seeable, to know the un-knowable. The exhibition will also include several new commissions and 30 of Paterson’s Ideas – artworks designed to live in the imagination – interspersed with works by JMW Turner (1775-1851), one of the most celebrated artists in British history.
Over the last 10 years, Katie Paterson has developed an extraordinary and unique practice working with scientists and other experts to create works exploring the cosmos, geological time and the material world. 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.”
Like Paterson, 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 watercolours from Tate’s collection making connections with her own works and Ideas.
“It has been a great privilege to explore the preoccupation with colour, light, space and time that Turner and I share. In this exhibition, mountains of disappearing sand, exploding stars and constellations will connect with Turner’s renderings of moonlit rivers, erupting volcanoes and otherworldly sunsets. The landscape and light of Margate will merge with the artworks themselves.” – Katie Paterson.
For this exhibition, Turner Contemporary is commissioning Paterson to make a new work, which will encompass the colour of the universe from its very beginning to its eventual end. Working with scientists who have pioneered research on the cosmic spectrum, Paterson will create a spinning wheel which charts the colour of the universe through each era of its existence.
Earlier this year, Turner Contemporary worked with members of the local community, The Conversation Agency and Paterson to explore the artist’s lifelong series of Ideas. These are artworks designed to live in the imagination, which take the form of short haiku-like sentences realised in silver. Using the gallery’s practise of ‘Philosophical Inquiry’ the artist’sIdeas were subject to intense discussion and scrutiny, resulting in the selection of three new Ideas to be made especially for this exhibition.
Paterson's new book, A place that exists only in moonlight, which features over one hundred of Paterson’s Ideas, will be published to coincide with the exhibition. The book itself will be printed with cosmic dust.
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 100 books. A new text will be written each year by a new author, kept in trust and not read by anyone until 2114, when the library is complete. The authors include Margaret Atwood, Elif Shafak and Han Kang.
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.