Marking the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing (20 July 2019), Geelong Gallery presents The Moon – programmed to coincide with this significant milestone and brings together artistic responses to the celestial body that orbits the Earth.
For centuries artists from many cultures have been inspired by the Moon, the most prominent feature of our night sky. The Moon includes historical works created when the Moon could only be viewed from afar, works from the era of the 1960s space race, and more contemporary responses informed by the imagery and scientific knowledge acquired through space exploration as well as diverse references from popular culture.
Just as the Moon itself can be viewed from multiple vantage points from the Earth, works in the exhibition will be located throughout the galleries. Links with literature, film, music and science will also be explored, highlighting the Moon’s capacity to engender creativity and inquiry.
Incorporating works from a number of national and state institutions, various regional galleries, private collections and Geelong Gallery’s own collection, The Moon will invite a new engagement with, and provide new perspectives on, this enigmatic celestial body that we all see and are influenced by.
“This rich subject is explored through works spanning centuries – from a 16th century woodcut by Albrecht Dürer to artistic responses made in this anniversary year – and across five key exhibition themes,” says Lisa Sullivan, Geelong Gallery Senior Curator.
Evocations and imaginings brings together historical works of the late 19th and early 20th century in which the Moon casts an atmospheric glow across a landscape or is used as a symbolic device, by artists such as ST Gill, Arthur Streeton, Arthur Loureiro, Godfrey Miller and Charles Blackman.
The 1902 film A trip to the Moon by George Méliès – a very early and influential work in the history of cinema – speculates on space travel and Moon inhabitants. South African artist William Kentridge’s animated film, Journey to the Moon, 2003 provides an evocative contemporary response to Méliès’ film.
Extending on this, Journeys to the Moon sees 1960s NASA photographs in the form of stills and American artist Michael Light’s moving image collage displayed alongside works by Susan Norrie, Rosemary Laing, Mikala Dwyer, Steven Rendall, Catherine Rogers and Damiano Bertoli variously inspired by space travel, concepts of populating the Moon, and the lunar surface.
The light of the Moon encompasses two key installations: Katie Paterson’s Lightbulb to simulate Moonlight and Louise Weaver’s Moonlight becomes you. Paterson’s single bulb emits rays approximating the light of a Full Moon, while Weaver presents an entirely new iteration of an earlier work to create an immersive environment in which nocturnal creatures live by Moonlight.
Phases of the Moon references the constantly changing ‘shape’ of the Moon as it moves through the lunar cycle and travels across our night sky. Works by Janet Dawson, Lesley Dumbrell, Marion Borgelt, Felicity Spear and Luke Parker, among others, illustrate this theme. The concept of ‘phases’ or ‘time’ is extended to the ancient Dreaming stories of our Indigenous people which tell of the creation of the Moon.
And finally, Paper Moon brings together a diverse array of works across drawing, printmaking and photography, reflecting the enduring interest of artists in this subject.
Geelong Gallery, 55 Little Malop Street, Geelong
Exhibition: 15 June – 1 September 2019
For more information, visit: www.geelonggallery.org.au for details.
Image: Georges Méliès, A Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la Lune) 1902, black and white; silent, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne