Jason Jacques Gallery is pleased to present The Orb, an exhibition of Lunar Orbiter photographs taken of the Moon by NASA between 1966 and 1967, paired with ceramic vessels by contemporary Danish artist Morten Løbner Espersen.
Depicting the Moon from various angles and distances, the Lunar Orbiter photographs were captured over the course of ve unmanned missions from 1966 through 1967, in a program designed to photograph and assess all potential landing sites for the Apollo mission. The photographs also aimed to provide baseline imagery for future geologic analysis of the lunar surface. The rst mission remains famous for producing the rst photograph of the Earth from the Moon, taken in August 1966.
Derived from negatives captured with an incredibly advanced imaging system, these vintage gelatin silver prints mapped 99 percent of the Moon’s surface in high-resolution. The rst three missions successfully photographed potential landing sites, while the fourth and fth covered the entire lunar nearside and farside of the satellite. The lunar orbiters used a complex imaging system that includes a dual-lens camera, a lm- processing unit, a readout scanner, and a lm apparatus. The resulting rolls of 70mm lm were then processed, scanned, and transmitted back to Earth.
Though an inherently scienti c mission, the results of this Lunar Orbiter program are beautiful, haunting images of the glowing orb that hangs in our night sky. The varying shades of black and white and spectacular views of the lunar surface create eerie silent images of tremendous beauty, which magni cently picture the moon’s relief and its many craters. The photographs, upon their release, captivated audiences who, for the rst time, saw detailed photographs of the surface of another body in space. They testify to the tremendous scienti c and public interest in the moon and space in the 1960s, which culminated in the rst manned moon landing of 1969.
Alongside the NASA photographs, Morten Løbner Espersen’s stoneware vessels, themselves named after the Moon, are a perfect complement to the black and white images. Spherical in silhouette and highly textured, Espersen’s Moon Vessels echo the appearance of the Moon in both shape and surface, craters and crevices lending the pieces a purposely irregular quality. Coated in shades of alternating vibrant and muted glaze, the Moon Vessels add a dimension of color to the black and white photographs, in an inspired interpretation of the same subject matter. Espersen’s Moon Vessels explore opposing principles, unifying simple oval forms with complex surfaces, which recall the volcanic surface of the pieces of Viennese sculptor Lucie Rie. Magni ed by a unique satiny glaze that contrasts with the convoluted shapes of the sculptures, Espersen’s pieces constitute an exciting aesthetic challenge to the two-dimensional NASA photographs.
Set in Jason Jacques Gallery’s main exhibition room, the Orb Show is an adventurous pairing combining two starkly di erent portrayals of the Moon in a type of cosmic surrealism.
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 9, 2016, 6-9 PM