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Katie Paterson - Artists - James Cohan

Photo: Giorgia Polizzi

Scottish artist Katie Paterson is known for her multi-disciplinary and conceptually-driven work with an emphasis on nature, ecology, geology and cosmology. Collaborating with scientists and researchers across the world, Paterson’s projects consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. Her artworks make use of sophisticated technologies and specialist expertise to stage intimate, poetic and philosophical engagements between people and their natural environment. Combining a Romantic sensibility with a research-based approach, conceptual rigour and coolly minimalist presentation, her work collapses the distance between the viewer and the most distant edges of time and the cosmos. 


Among the artist’s best known works are: The Future Library Project, an ambitious, one-hundred year endeavor commissioned by the City of Oslo and the National Library of Oslo that will culminate in an one-hundred text anthology by leading authors, poets and thinkers of the twenty-first century; Ideas, a lifelong series started by the artist in 2015, of short, haiku-like sentences rendered in sterling silver or bronze; Totality (2016), a mirrorball reflecting every solar eclipse seen from earth; Hollow (2016), an immersive piece of architecture that brings together over 10,000 unique tree species, commissioned by the University of Bristol, made in collaboration with architects Zeller & Moye and permanently installed in the historic Royal Fort Gardens; Fossil Necklace (2013), a necklace made up of 170 carved, spherical 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. 


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 The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland (2021); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (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); and Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK (2008). Paterson has participated in group exhibitions at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Germany (2021); Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland (2021); Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London, UK (2020); UCCA Dune, Beidaihe, China (2020); 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); among many others. 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.


Paterson was 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 Bretagne, France; FRAC, Franche-Comté, France; Musee D’Art Classique de Mougins, France; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ; Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guanghzhou, China; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT; and the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK. Katie Paterson lives and works in Fife, Scotland. 


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. 

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