Dr. Richard and Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux, Heidi Messer-Martin, Tad Martin and Stephen Messer are pleased to present Celestial Matters, a revolutionary exhibition replicating one previously shown on the International Space Station in 2008. Celestial Matters is dedicated to documenting this pivotal moment in human history when, for the first time, the unreachable and oft-imagined realm of space is being made accessible, urging us to wonder what worlds the stars will lead us to next.
The son of an astronaut and an artist, Dr. Richard Garriott de Cayeux’s fascination with space permeated both his imagination and aspirations. Denied the option of following in his father’s footsteps, Dr. Garriott de Cayeux vowed to find a way to explore space. He eventually achieved his goal through Space Adventures, one of the first companies to train and transport private citizens into space. After intense training in Russia, Dr. Garriott de Cayeux’s mission was set for October 2008.
Prior to this mission, the Messer-Martins presented their idea that the International Space Station was an ideal venue to explore the emotional aspects of space through art. Together, they organized a call for artists and selected a series of artworks created to pay tribute to the role of space in our collective consciousness. These works express the conflict between the freedom and the limitations of a zero gravity environment. Furthermore, they highlight an era when commercial space travel has made voyage beyond the earth’s borders a reality for civilians.
The challenge for participating artists was significant. Each piece had to conform to a very specific set of criteria required to travel in space, including limitations on the weight, size and materials used to create the artwork. Each piece also had to present a compelling interpretation of space and how it impacts and inspires the human perspective.
Works by ten artists were selected and in October 2008, Dr. Garriott de Cayeux brought these works aboard the ISS and exhibited them to the crew. During his mission on the ISS, he also created six works using the zero gravity environment as an opportunity to experiment with a new kind of artistic technique.