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Take me to the moon

I recently went on a day trip to Margate specifically to go and see before it finished the Katie Paterson and JMW Turner ‘A place that exists only in moonlight’ exhibition at the Turner Contemporary.

I’m still thinking about this exhibition; it certainly inspired me. This was for a number of reasons – it’s ephemeral beauty, it’s crossing of borders between science, art, music, literature and geology and Patersons collaboration with experts from different disciplines. But perhaps more than anything I was really struck with how it could capture the imagination of most people who visited it. As an example, Katie Paterson’s piece where the score of ‘Moonlight Sonata’ is being played on an automated grand piano. But the music isn’t perfect; whilst clearly recognisable, there are bits missing. Reading the blurb, we find out that the score has been converted to morse code and reflected off the surface of the moon. However bits of it get caught in the moon’s shadows and crevices and it is this incomplete morse code that Is sent back, resulting in a fragmented score being played. We see the morse code ‘before and after’ displayed on the wall as evidence but this isn’t perhaps necessary. What is particularly beguiling is the way in which this art piece takes us all to the moon and back and ever so simply.

Katie Paterson use of Haikus also demonstrates this desire to transport people’s imaginations. They are but a few words placed on a wall but a few very carefully selected combination of words and ideas and when placed in conjunction with a few of Turners delicate watercolours, they have the ability to create an internal ‘shift’.

I can’t pretend to be able to create that kind of magic with my art, but I like the idea of producing work that opens up the viewers imagination.