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Katie Paterson, Photo: Giorgia Polizzi

Katie Paterson has become known for her multidisciplinary and conceptually-driven work with an emphasis on nature, ecology, geology and cosmology.  Many of her poetic installations have been the result of intensive research and collaboration with specialists as diverse as astronomers, geneticists, nanotechnologists, jewelers and firework manufacturers. 


Among recent works are: Totality (2016), a mirrorball reflecting every solar eclipse seen from earth; Hollow (2016), a commission for University of Bristol, made in collaboration with architects Zeller & Moye, permanently installed in the historic Royal Fort Gardens: a miniature forest of all the world’s forests, including over 10,000 unique tree species spanning millions of years telling the history of the planet through the immensity of tree specimens in microcosm; Fossil Necklace (2013), a necklace comprised of 170 carved, rounded fossils, spanning geological time; Second Moon (2013), a work that 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; All the Dead Stars (2009), a large map documenting the locations of 27,000 dead stars known to humanity; Light bulb to Simulate Moonlight (2009), an incandescent bulb designed to transmit wavelength properties identical to those of moonlight; and History of Darkness (ongoing), a slide archive of darkness captured at different times and places throughout the universe and spanning billions of years.  As Erica Burton, curator at Modern Art Oxford, wrote at the time of a solo exhibition in 2008, “Katie Paterson’s work engages with the landscape, as a physical entity and as an idea. Drawing on our experience of the natural world, she creates an expanded sense of reality beyond the purely visible.”

Biography 2

Katie Paterson, Earth Moon Earth, 2007

Earth-Moon-Earth (E.M.E) is a form of radio transmission whereby messages are sent in Morse code from earth, reflected from the surface of the moon, and then received back on earth. The moon reflects only part of the information back – some is absorbed in its shadows, ‘lost’ in its craters. For this work Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata was translated into morse code and sent to the moon via E.M.E. Returning to earth fragmented by the moon's surface, it has been re-translated into a new score, the gaps and absences becoming intervals and rests. In the exhibition space the new 'moon–altered' score plays on a self-playing grand piano.


Katie Paterson (born 1981, Glasgow, Scotland) received her BA from Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, United Kingdom in 2004 and her MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London, United Kingdom in 2007. She has since been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2019); The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland (2019); Utah Museum of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, UT (2017): Somerset House, London, UK (2016); FRAC Frache Comté, Besancon, France (2015); the Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (2014); Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK and at Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge UK (2013); the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas, and BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna, Austria (2012); James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY (2011) and Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK (2008). Paterson has participated in group exhibitions at the Royal Museums Greenwich, London, UK (2019); the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (2018); the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2017); the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK and OCAT, Shanghai, China (2016); the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2015); the Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; the Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL; the Hayward Gallery, London, UK; and Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK. Her work has also been featured in the 2017 Yokohama Triennale, Japan; 11th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea, 2016; Whitstable Biennial 2010, Whitstable, UK; PERFORMA 09, New York, NY; and Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain, London, UK.


She has been the recipient of the John Florent Stone Fellowship at Edinburgh College of Art, and was the Leverhulme Artist in Residence in the Astrophysics Group at the University College London for the academic year 2010-2011. Her work can be found in public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; FRAC, Franche-Comté, France; the Musee D’Art Classique de Mougins, France; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; the Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guanghzhou, China; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT; and the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK. Katie Paterson lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

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