Katie Paterson, born Glasgow, 1981, is regarded as an artist working at the forefront of her generation. Collaborating with leading scientists and researchers across the world, Katie Paterson’s poetic and conceptual projects consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. Her artworks make use of sophisticated technologies and specialist expertise to stage intimate, poetic and philosophical engagements between people and their natural environment.
Paterson graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007. In January 2014, she was the recipient of the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Visual Art and in 2015 Paterson's artwork Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky (2014) was shortlisted for 46th Prix International d’Art Contemporain; awarded every three years for a recent work by an artist at the forefront of their practice.
Combining a Romantic sensibility with a research-based approach and coolly minimalist presentation, her work collapses the distance between the viewer and the most distant edges of time and the cosmos. Describing Paterson’s work, museum curator Erica Burton explains the way she “engages with the landscape, as a physical entity and as an idea. Drawing on our experience of the natural world, she creates an expanded sense of reality beyond the purely visible”.
Paterson’s ongoing artwork Future Library launched in 2014 and will take a century to manifest, reaching completion in 2114. The 100-year artwork began with a forest growing in Norway, which will later make paper for an anthology of, as yet unprinted, texts. Meanwhile one writer every year will contribute a text to the Future Library, with the writings held in trust, unread and unpublished, until 2114. Writers to date include Margaret Atwood (2014), David Mitchell (2015), Sjón (2016), Elif Shafak (2017), Han Kang (2018), Karl Ove Knausgaard (2019), Ocean Vuong (2020), and Tsitsi Dangarembga (2021).
Recent solo presentations of Paterson’s work include The Earth Has Many Keys at NYLO The Living Art Museum, Reykavík, Iceland (2021); the final instalment in the NOW series of exhibitions at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (2020); A place that exists only in moonlight at Turner Contemporary, Margate (2019); Syzygy at The Lowry, Manchester (2016); CentrePasquArt, Beil, Switzerland (2016); FRAC Franche-Comté, Besançon, France (2015) and Ideas at Ingleby Gallery (2014) - presented as part of GENERATION, a nationwide programme of exhibitions celebrating contemporary art in Scotland.
Katie Paterson’s work is held in public collections internationally including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA; Princeton University Library, USA; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, FRA Franche-Comté, France, Edinburgh University, UK and Arts Council Collection UK.
Major recent commissions include Mirage, a permanent public sculpture for Apple Park, California, made in collaboration with studio Zeller & Moye using sand collected from deserts across the earth; Ideas, a permanent commission by the University of Edinburgh; Burn, Forest, Fire by IHME Helsinki and Glass Exchange by the National Glass Centre and Durham Cathedral, UK.
Ingleby presented a solo exhibition of Katie Paterson's work, Requiem, an artwork that tells of the birth and life of our planet in a single object – an object that uses dust gathered from material dating from pre-solar times to those of the present, in the spring of 2022.