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Katie Paterson’s art enables us to engage with forces that are too intangible and too immense for us to experience in other ways
Katie Paterson has earned widespread acclaim for work that tackles some of the key questions about our place on earth. Her work often involves collaborating with leading scientists and researchers across the world. The exhibition brings together previous projects and new work.Inside this desert lies the tiniest grain of sand saw Paterson working with experts in nanotechnology to take a grain of sand and carve it to just 0.00005mm across – which she then buried deep within the Sahara desert. A photograph of Paterson standing amongst the dunes, features in the exhibition, a contemplation of the monumental elevating the minute.
On display in St Peter’s Church is a new piece, Fossil Necklace, a culmination of her residency at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. The necklace comprises over 170 beads carved from fossils that chart the evolution of life on earth. From a dinosaur tooth to a squid’s backbone, the oldest fossil is around 3.5 billion years old.
Other works in the exhibition approach the themes of time and scale in different ways. As The World Turns is a record player moving imperceptibly slowly, in time with the rotation of the Earth. An ancient meteorite, fallen to earth and buried, is discovered and remade in Campo del Cielo, Field of Sky. The meteorite has been cast, melted then re-cast into a new version of itself that visitors can touch. The artist hopes to return it to space one day.
We are grateful to the Churches Conservation Trust and St Giles’ Church for their support. Katie Paterson’s residency at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of 6 international residencies which made up Wellcome Collection’s Art in Global Health project.