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Jacob’s Ladder

Ingleby Gallery until October
Four stars

The blood moon eclipse may have beamed out of sight, but, fifty years after Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey transformed an Arthur C Clarke short story into an audacious widescreen epic, and just a year shy of half a century since man walked on the moon for real, space is still very much the place. With this in mind, Ingleby’s Edinburgh Art Festival group show of fifteen artists seen in tandem with the University of Edinburgh’s Astronomy Victorious exhibition aims for the stars. This is perfectly evoked by Colour Field (2016), Katie Paterson’s reimagining of the night sky with the dancing neon of Los Angeles after dark.

One can orbit from Marine Hugonnier’s redacted American and Russian newspaper front pages of the moon landings in Art For Modern Architecture (2018) past Katie Paterson’s moulded meteorite in Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky (2014) and the half-ton boulder of Alicja Kwade’s Stellar Day (2013) revolving in painfully anti-clockwise fashion. Both David Austen’s waggish film, Smoking Moon (2007), in which a crescent moon sucks on a tab, and George Melies’ vintage moving picture, Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902), that inspired it provide lightness amongst the weightiness, though it is left to From home (2018), Peter Liversidge’s seemingly free-standing tape measure and Jonny Lyons’ ladder in High Bias (2018) to really defy gravity.  

For all the supersonic trip-scapes on show, there is nothing on this planet that can compete with images taken by NASA and the crews of Apollo 8 and 9. Astronaut Bill Anders’ seminal Earthrise encapsulates a new dawn, and astonishes still.

The List, August 2018


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