by Sukanya GargMay 12, 2020
The exhibition Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg is celebrating the golden jubilee of the first moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, when Commander Neil Armstrong became the first person to ever set foot on the lunar surface. While his was a more physical journey on the moon, artists across the world throughout time have traversed the lunar realm in their creative works. The lunar luminescence has been a constant muse, affecting, and inspiring directly people’s emotions, energies, and pursuits.
The exhibition (which opened on July 20, 2019), then is a voyage into the history of creative outputs inspired by the moon. Including around 280 exhibits, the show is an amalgamation of historical narratives, scientific documentation and photographs along with artworks that include paintings, video works, multimedia installations and prints and photos.
The exhibition focuses on visual art from the 20th and 21st century, complemented by excursions into the history of science, literature, and music from the 17th century to the present. Thematically, the exhibition is divided into three sections - the first related to the investigation of the moon, its surface, and its influence over man and nature; the second being the conquest of the moon, with the drama and heroics of space travel; and the third surveying how human perspectives on the moon have shifted, with utopian projects for lunar colonies, the cultural discourse on earth’s pull and zero gravity, and the growing understanding of how sensitive our home planet’s climate is.
According to Thorsten Sadowsky, the director of Museum der Moderne Salzburg, “The moon has exerted an enormous fascination on humans for millennia, and in this exhibition, we use the anniversary of the lunar landing as an opportunity to explore how the moon and the voyage to it as a theme and challenge to the imagination has inspired artists for centuries. Seeing the earth from space for the first time created an unprecedented awareness of the fragility of our existence; the blue planet itself became a key emblem of life and its vulnerability, with a correspondingly large presence in visual art.”
Perhaps then, it may be no surprise if a visit to the show brings back the faint melody of Sinatra cooing, “Fly me to the moon, Let me play among the stars …”.
The exhibition has been conceptualised by Cathérine Hug from Kunsthaus Zürich and co-curated by Thorsten Sadowsky with Christina Penetsdorfer and Tina Teufel from the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.
Most of the works in the exhibition have come from the art collection of Kunsthaus Zürich, complemented with a selection from the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. Some others have been loaned from other institutions, including the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Moscow; the Berliner Sparkasse; the Bröhan-Museum Berlin, Landesmuseum für Jugendstil, Art Deco und Funktionalismus; the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen/Basel; the Tate, London; the UBS Art Collection, Zurich; the Zabludowicz Collection, London; the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek; and several private collectors.
The exhibition is on display at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg until November 3, 2019.