object of the week

While the Pathfoot Building is closed, the Art Collection will each week focus on an object of interest. You can also search our entire collection online here.

Ideas (Gravity released one unit at a time)
Katie Paterson
(Micro-waterjet-cut Sterling Silver, 1/3, 2014)

In the summer of 2014, the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh presented Katie Paterson: Ideas as part of the GENERATION nationwide programme of exhibitions. The work shown here, entitled Ideas (Gravity released one unit at a time), was acquired by the Art Collection from the exhibition (with assistance from the National Fund for Acquisitions).
Ideas are a series of short haiku-like sentences in solid silver that turn some of Katie Paterson’s unrealisable ideas into impossible statements of intent. These semi-poetic phrases take shape in the imagination of whoever reads the words and so become an expression of the idea itself. As the artist says: ‘the images you form are the artworks themselves’. What gradually becomes clear is that the distance between the realised and the unrealisable is not to be relied upon.

This work was loaned in Spring 2019 to the Turner Contemporary in Margate, for an exhibition entitled ‘A place that exists only in moonlight: Katie Paterson and JMW Turner’. The following film about this exhibition gives a good brief introduction to the artist’s interests and inspirations.

In 2015, the Art Collection also purchased a ‘Certificate of Authenticity’ to be a participant in a new visionary project by Katie Paterson, which will last one hundred years:

A forest in Norway is growing. In 100 years from now it will become an anthology of books. Every year a writer will contribute a text that will be held in trust, unpublished, until 2114. The certificate entitles the owner to one complete set of the texts printed on the paper made from the trees after they are fully grown and cut down in 2114. It is printed on paper made from trees felled in Nordmarka in 2014.

A beautiful film was commissioned by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art about how this project is developing. Watch it here

Widely regarded as one of the leading artists of her generation, collaborating with scientists and researchers across the world, Katie Paterson’s projects consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. Here is the artist speaking from her home in Fife in Spring 2020, in a short film commissioned by the Ingleby Gallery for The Unseen Masterpiece – a daily exhibition of artworks that no one will see, of works that will never be together (running until 1st June 2020…see more here).


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