Republic of the Moon review

The wildest blasts of icy wind from the Thames drive me spluttering through the OXO tower where the gusts made a theatrical howling through the glass doors, and into the pleasantly crumbling brick interior of the Bargehouse. I was short of time, so I'm speeding through the dim and resonant interior with you, past the basement with Liliane Lijn's ethereal 'Moonmeme', Agnes Meyer-Brandis's moon-geese follow her on an extendd lunar flight training session, Leonid Tishkov's 'Private Moon' photos, recording his glowing moon's resting places.

Best for poetry is Katie Paterson's 'Earth-Moon-Earth' and 'Second Moon'. Familiar but stuttering phrases of Beethoven drift down the stairs of the Bargehouse. In a dim upper room an unmanned piano steps woodenly through the Moonlight Sonata, reproducing the dreamy tune with an unwavering tempo. The melody flows along then suddenly stops, stutters, reappears in the upper register, starts in mid-flow. Paterson had translated the Moonlight Sonata into Morse code, beamed it up at the moon and it was beamed back and transcribed into notes. The transmitted musical message was interrupted by craters and canyons on the lunar surface, so what you hear is partial, intermittent, you are embarrassed for the piano.

I love this richly prismatic idea - imagine the increasingly deaf withdrawn composer in the faltering candlelight reaching for each note; centuries later his inkblots turn to dots and bars, get beamed millions of miles from earth, land on the silvery moon, turn around and come back, dodging past the Moon mountains. Then the painstaking transcription into a mathematical language, the voyage of the invisible beams of notes, the lack of the composer's emotions in the playing, the making neutral of passion, only for a different kind of longing to be expressed almost despite itself.

And the rest of the exhibition was lovely but I'm off to my studio now so - just go and see it for yourself.

Agnes Meyer-Brand, Leonid Tishkov, Katie Paterson, Liliane Lijn, WE COLONISED THE MOON, Hagen Betzwiesser, Sue Corke, Joanna Griffin, Tomas Saraceno

Bargehouse?Oxo Tower Wharf?South Bank?London SE1 9PH?UK
10/01/2014 – 02/02/2014 ?11am-6pm daily, late opening 6.30-8.30pm Thursday 9 January and 6.30-10pm Thursday 16 January

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