I associate the work with Scandinavian modernism, with its preference for wholesome, modern materials—hessian and felt. The words, which are placenames for the swamps, bays, marshes, and lakes on the Moon, were devised by a seventeenth-century astronomer, Giovanni Battista Riccioli. They make for a nice poem. I like the range of names. It’s interesting what’s included and what’s not. There’s success, love, and rot, and there’s rainbows, sleep, fear, and forgetfulness—but no sex. Riccioli projected his Jesuit world view onto the Moon. Here’s this inert, lifeless object in space, and it gets all these human sentiments projected onto it. I’m interested in the way that something so ‘other’ can be anthropomorphised.
Mikala Dwyer has been exhibiting internationally since the 1980s and has developed a distinctive and highly engaging sculptural and large-scale installation practice that explores ideas about the infantile, magic and occult forces, modernist design, and the relationship between people and objects. Inventive, playful and provocative, her work pushes the traditional limits of form and materiality.
Impressive in scale and presence, Moon (2009) is an astoundingly large ten-meter long hessian banner hung from the ceiling and continues to roll across the floor. Hand-cut felt-appliquéd letters in various colours spell out the names of the Lunar Maria – darker parts of the moon’s surface that were mistaken as ‘seas’ by early astronomers but are actually basaltic plains formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. Poem of Giovanni Riccioli’s nomenclature of the Lunar Maria, “Bay of Roughness”, “Lake of Perseverance”, “Sea of Nectar” amongst many other names – whimsical yet sublime, these titles are tantamount to life itself.