‘For a cold lifeless sphere of rock and dust locked in orbit around our planet, the satellite has had many protean identities. It has been a symbol of love and chastity, lucidity and madness, eternity and death. It never changes and it never stops changing. Poets have serenaded its femininity and its solitude and have, in the case of the Chinese poet Li Bai, drowned attempting to embrace its reflection. To the grand-cynic Philip Larkin, it was a “lozenge of love” and a “medallion of art”; its celestial light aiding his stumbling path from the toilet. Above all, it is clear that the moon has and always will be, as long as there are people to observe it, a canvas.
Paterson, rather than deconstructing our affinities to suit a more cynical materialist age, very deftly and subtly reframes them and, in doing so, enhances the romantic by forcing us to reflect on what it actually is and why. Myths have purposes even, or rather especially, in a world that ostensibly shuns them. The daylight hours may have been colonised by work and commerce, but the night remains a quite different territory…’
On Katie Paterson’s Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon)