Viva Brighton Issue #68 October 2018

VivaMagazines

BITS AND BOOKS

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MOON: ART, SCIENCE, CULTURE

BY ROBERT MASSEY & ALEXANDRA LOSKE

The 1965 toy ‘Barbie Miss

Astronaut’ is one of many

gems spotted in this gorgeous

book by Robert Massey

and Alexandra Loske. With

chapters as diverse as ‘Ancient

Lunar Deities’, ‘Sergei Korolev’

and ‘Thomas Harriot’s

Moon Map from 1609’, a

diagram on the contents page

suggests unifying themes such

as ‘Beginning’, ‘Exploring’ and

‘Reaching’ – and brief essays

towards the book’s close reflect

these. But the bulk of the book

itself feels like a potpourri of

all things ‘moon’. That, really,

is its beauty.

The result is a feast of contrasting

visual styles and images,

be those Leonid Tishkov’s

beautiful Under broken bridge,

Maolin, Taiwan; or the iconic

William Blake ‘I want! I want!’

from For the Sexes: The Gates

of Paradise. The introduction

emphasises our moon’s duality

with the sun. ‘Looking from

the Earth into space,’ the book

starts, ‘just two objects - the

Sun and the Moon - appear

to the naked eye as anything

other than points of light.’

And there is a certain, pleasing

duality, it seems to me, in how

many of these spreads have

been ‘choreographed’.

Frequently, the pairing of facing

images seems inspired. In

some cases, via their palettes:

the soft hues of Nils Blommér’s

1850 The Water-Sprite

and Ägir’s Daughters perfectly

complement those of Caspar

David Friedrich’s 1818 Moonrise

over the Sea. In other cases,

an echo in shape, or sweep:

so (pictured bottom right),

the Blake – whose protagonist

is just starting up his long,

narrow ladder – faces ‘The

Somnambulant’ (from Aventures

et Mésaventures du Baron

de Münchhausen) who’s nearing

the top of his climb (of ‘a giant

beanstalk’). Or a photo of the

Herschel Crater mirrors ‘A

Lunar Halo’ engraving (from,

we’re told, Science for All).

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