CtC’s Artist of the Month for April is, Berlin-based, Scottish artist Katie Paterson (1981, Glasgow).
Katie Paterson’s ideas are always huge, time expanding in both directions, offering us glimpses of the past and what might lay ahead in the future. Science is always a close ally in her work, though it is with an amount of the magical that her projects come to life as impactful and memorable experiences for anyone who visits them.
One of her most famous works, All the Dead Stars (2009) shows a typical attention to detail and an ability to make her audience marvel. Her ideas come from fields such as astronomy, nature and our constantly changing landscape. She has always been known as an artist itching to try to do something new and her materials and the scope of her projects move from being object-based to works encompassed by sound and installations that immerse the visitor. Totality – currently on show at Somerset House, London – is a disco ball covered with documentation of nearly every solar eclipse experienced by mankind, as it spins, it reflects images from the past onto the walls and the visitors that stand hypnotised by its rotation. Future Library (2014-2114) considers time from the other angle, the time ahead of us. In 2114, at the end of the 100 year project, trees planted in a forest in Norway will be chopped down to print the manuscripts that have been amassed yearly in the same period. No-one living now, except perhaps the very young, will live to see it. In fact, we will never know if it has actually come to pass and yet, it is with a confidence in Paterson’s work that you can say it will.
Translation also plays a heady role in her work, as she attempts to convey her ideas of distance and scale in a variety of ways. A particularly curious example of this particular fascination is Earth-Moon-Earth (2007) where Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was bounced off the surface of the moon only to return altered from its travels through space. The musical rendition of what is left is both beautiful and confusing, halting and trembling, in its new composition. It is this idea of the new that seems to power Paterson, as she toys with concepts and ideas that are explainable in scientific terms but in her final products nearly always have a magical quality. Her works are spectacles with deeper meaning, leaving their marks on the viewer long after they have seen them.
Katie Paterson was trained at Edinburgh College of Art and Slade School of Fine Art, her recent exhibitions include; 100 Billion Suns, Haunch of Venison, London, UK (2012), Earth-Moon-Earth, Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh, UK (2014), Totality, Somerset House, London, UK (2016) and Hollow, University of Bristol, UK (2016). She is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and in 2014 won the Spirit of Scotland Award.
For the month of July, CtC will present a selection of four works by Katie Paterson as cover images on our social media.
Amy E. Brown