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Photo by 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. 


One of Paterson’s best known works is the ambitious Future Library Project. Conceived in 2014, Future Library Project is a one hundred year long project commissioned by the City of Oslo and the National Library of Oslo. Each year, one author from across the globe is invited to
write a piece of writing anything from a poem, short story, to a full length book) which will be held in trust, unread and unpublished until the year 2114. The project has a physical counterpoint through the growth of 1000 trees in protected lands in forest outside of Oslo, which will grow over the next one hundred years and eventually be turned into the paper. After one hundred years, a full anthology of all one hundred texts will be printed on pages from the felled trees. To fund the project, Paterson has created a Future Library Certificate print edition, which secures ownership of one of the future anthologies. To date, museum and university collections including Princeton University, Stanford University, Smith College, the Berkeley Museum of Art, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Walker Art Center have acquired this work for either their library collections or their art collections. A project that will outlive its founder, and most of the authors and participants, the Future Library Project serves as a time capsule and an optimistic view for the future, where literature and printed books are still printed,
read and cherished.


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.”


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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