Katie Paterson The artist making work for other planets.

Katie Paterson The artist making work for other planets.

Issue 40

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Arts & Culture

  • Words Tom Faber
  • Photograph James Bennett

Katie Paterson’s garage contains moon dust. It’s stored alongside offcuts from a mammoth’s thighbone and a collection of wood samples from 10,000 different trees, each acquired in the name of art. In her work, Paterson poses searching existential questions in the form of poetic acts, whether that be setting up a live phone line to a melting glacier, sending a meteorite back into space or bouncing a recording of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata off the surface of the moon. These artworks bring the cosmos down to scale, cutting through the detritus of daily life to reawaken a wide-eyed wonder at the universe and our place within it.

Paterson’s work has been exhibited at London’s Tate Britain, New York’s Guggenheim Museum and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Her best-...

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