Early in the year it was time to do something cultural and so it was off to the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art to see the latest in the series of exhibitions entitled “NOW”. These are an exploration of the subject of time and its relationship to the humankind.
The exhibition started with selection of photographs by Darren Almond. These were very long exposure shots that tried to capture the sense of movement and change in the world. Looking at them gives a sense of time compressed into a static shot. The photos are taken by moonlight and this, with the long exposure, gives them something of a faintly unreal quality, like a dream captured.
Next up was some artifacts associated with a piece of performance art by Shona Macnaughton performed when she was 9months pregnant. This explores the changing nature of the body when pregnant and places this within a changing landscape as the area of Glasgow that she is from is regenerated.
The main part of the exhibition was work by Katie Paterson. It started with a work called “Lightbulb to Simulate Moonlight (2008)”. As its name suggests, this is a room with a low hanging lightbulb that has been specially designed to simulate the wavelengths of light that are reflected by the Moon. The room was empty bar the light and it was calming to rest and contemplate while bathed in the light of the (simulated) Moon.
The next room contained her work “Totality (2016)”. This was a large mirror ball onto which all known images of solar eclipses are projected. The room is filled with points of light made by images of a point in time where the sunlight is blocked out. A number of visitors including myself sat here for a while to watch the spinning images.
The last section of Paterson’s exhibition was “Earth – Moon – Earth (2007)”. This was a midi piano playing the Moonlight Sonata. However, the file containing the music had been transmitted at the moon and the reflection recorded. This means there were errors and gaps in the performance.
I was glad that I got to see this before the lockdown. The exhibition was an affecting one and provoked a contemplation of time and my relationship to it.