Fifty years ago, one of the most important and talked-about moments in space history took place – the moon landing. After setting his foot on the rigid surface, Neil Armstrong proclaimed it as "one small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind".
The upcoming exhibition at Stephen Bulger Gallery will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark moment in human history. Titled The Final Frontier, it will bring together nearly 200 photographs created over a period of 130 years, including nineteenth-century observations of the Earth’s surface, photographs taken by astronauts on the surface of the Moon, as well as contemporary photographs that reinterpret previously made images of outer space, or offer new perspectives on space exploration.
As the only celestial body whose surface can be seen with the naked eye from our planet, the Moon has been fascinating and inspiring artists since the dawn of time. The first and important step to any space exploration, this fascination and longing serve as a unique mirror of the humankind.
The show at Stephen Bulger Gallery charts the role of photography in the pursuit of scientific discovery. It puts on display vintage photographs by James H. Nasmyth, Loewy and Puiseux, NASA astronauts, unknown photographers, and photographs transmitted from the Ranger and Orbiter Missions, but also works by contemporary photographers such as Benjamin Freedman, Michael Light, Sanaz Mazinani and Eva Stenram.
A Toronto-based photographer, Benjamin Freedman explores photography's role in describing the world and its implications within a range of professional practices while probing the relative truths and deceptions of photography. His three-pane video projection The Apollo Project explores how media translates history and meaning through the process of fragmentation and re-contextualization.
The exhibition will also feature Michael Light's series Full Moon, where the artist used lunar geological survey imagery made by the Apollo astronauts to show the Moon both as a sublime desert and an embattled point of first human contact. It will also present the 19th-century series of detailed photographs of the Moon and the lunar surface by Moritz Loewy and Pierre-Henri Puiseux, considered the finest and most meticulous until modern space exploration began in the 1960s.
Other highlights include Sanaz Mazinani's explorations on the way repetition and pattern make information legible; a diptych montage of Saturn's ice moon, Tethys and the Carina Nebula; James H. Nasmyth's 19th-century sketches of the lunar surface as seen through his 20-inch reflecting telescope; and Eva Stenram's Per Pulverem Ad Astra, made from negatives from NASA’s digital images of Mars.
The Final Frontier will be on view at Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto from June 28th until August 31st, 2019. The opening reception will be held on June 27th, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Currently on view is the exhibition Remembering Stonewall through Gay Sites and Portraits, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It will be on view until June 27th.
Featured images: Apollo 10 Astronauts, Gene Cernan, John Young and Tom Stafford, May 18, 1969, © NASA. All images courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery.