Katie Paterson

Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s (b. 1981) artistic practice is multi-disciplinary and conceptually driven, with emphasis on nature, ecology, geology and cosmology. Her conceptual projects make use of sophisticated technologies and specialist expertise to stage intimate, poetic and philosophical engagements between people and the natural environment. Combining a Romantic sensibility with a research-based approach and coolly minimalist presentation, her work collapses the distance between the viewer and the most distant edges of time and the cosmos.


Past projects include Earth–Moon–Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon) (2007) which involved the transmission of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to the moon and back with the help of moon bouncers, Vatnajökull (the sound of) (2007) where Paterson broadcast the sounds of a melting glacier live to a visitor on a mobile phone in an art gallery. History of Darkness (2010-ongoing) is a slide archive of the history of darkness across the ages, this lifelong project contains hundreds upon thousands of images of darkness from different times and places in the history of the Universe.


Paterson has worked with a number of experts from the fields of science and technology in order to realise her works. For Light Bulb to Simulate Moonlight (2008) Paterson worked with technicians at Osram. taking spectral measurements under a full moon and creating a custom-made light bulb to simulate the experience of moonlight. For Campo de Cielo, Field of the Sky (2012-ongoing) Paterson took a series of iron meteorites and had them melted and then recast back into their original shapes. Second Moon (2013) tracks the cyclical journey of a fragment of the moon as it circles the Earth, via airfreight courier, on a man-made year-long commercial orbit. Fossil Necklace (2013) is a necklace comprised of 170 carved, rounded fossils, sequentially arranged and spanning geological time.


Eliciting feelings of humility, wonder and melancholy akin to the experience of the Romantic sublime, Paterson’s work is at once understated in gesture and yet monumental in scope.



Katie Paterson graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007, and has since participated in many exhibitions internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2014), Mead Art Gallery, University of Warwick (2013), BAWAG Foundation, Vienna (2012) and Haunch of Venison, London (2012). Recent group exhibitions include Light and Landscape, Storm King Art Center, New York (2014), Foreign Bodies, Common Ground, Wellcome Trust, London (2014), Dissident Futures, Yerba Buena Center for Arts, San Francisco (2014),  Light Show, Hayward Gallery, London (2013), Wizard Chamber, Kunsthalle Winterthur (2013) and Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2012). Paterson  has been Leverhulme Artist in Residence in the Astrophysics Group, UCL, and recently held a John Florent Stone fellowship at Edinburgh College of Art. Her work is in important international collections including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Art Institute of Chicago, Zabludowicz Collection, London and ARTIUM, Centro Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Spain.


In 2014 Paterson was awarded the Visual Arts Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards.




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