Luke Jerram's ode to the moon

Multidisciplinary artist, Luke Jerram has created a stunning replica of the moon with imagery from NASA

January 31, 2018 06:02 pm | Updated February 03, 2018 03:28 pm IST

Museum of the Moon, an art installation of a replica of the moon created by Luke Jerram with a soundtrack composed by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer, Dan Jones, has travelled to several countries across the world. The opening of the installation was held for the first time in India in Bengaluru at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) on January 31, a special day when the first Super Blood Blue Moon and Lunar Eclipse occurred after 150 years.

The installation, measuring seven metres in diameter, features 120 DPI detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface.

The British Council has brought Museum of the Moon to India to mark the last phase of the UK-India Year of Culture and 70 years of the British Council in India. The installation will next travel to Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.


Luke, who has been a multidisciplinary artist for 20 years speaks about the inspiration behind the artwork. “I live in Bristol, in the UK, and there we’ve got the second largest tidal range in the world. About 15 years ago I had an idea to make an art work controlled by the moon and also an idea to make a replica of the moon. But there was no technology to do it. The NASA imagery wasn’t available, printers weren’t available. Originally I presented it in Hong Kong and they said no. And then I thought I would do it any way. We got funding and support from different places.”

The artwork was made through using imagery from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera and created with the UK Space Agency which Luke says, “was then printed on the surface of a balloon. The nice thing about this artwork is the darkened space which doesn’t make it look like a balloon. It looks like the moon. Sometimes people ask if it is made from concrete or fibre glass, so sometimes it creates an optical illusion.”

The installation offers a complete view of the moon. “The moon always faces the same direction. So people can’t see the far side of the moon. So this art work provides the opportunity to go round back and have a look at the far side of the moon and sort of inspect its finer details.”

Luke says he is interested in the moon scientifically and artistically as well. “Every culture and country the moon has inspired so much music, mythologies and literature. The moon gets interpreted in all these different ways. It is obviously very important for different religions as well. The moon is used as a calendar in different cultures and different religions. The moon is also used as a light source. I am collecting those stories and comparing them with one culture to another.”

For the installation, he has received various responses from different countries. He shows a video of people in Hong Kong taking selfies. There was a little girl of five and she said, ‘will you put up the moon back afterwards?’

He adds that Museum of the Moon also acts as a venue where things can take place. “It’s an opportunity around which to programme events. There have been an opera performance, a cover performance of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon . It has also been shown at cathedrals. It was also put up in swimming pools where you could swim out under the light of the moon."

About collaborating with Dan for the soundtrack, Luke says: “I gave Dan a brief that expressed my ideas about the moon. He created a 23 minute-long musical composition, and in there, there are recordings from NASA and space machines, there’s also the sounds of the sea and of moths. It’s a beautiful soundtrack.” Luke had a place in University to study engineering. But he decided to do art instead. “I graduated in 1987 from Cardiff. I moved to Bristol and it took me about five years to work out how to make a living. I like the idea we’re all creative and through collaboration anything is possible.”

Museum of the Moon will be on display on February 1 at NGMA. For more information on the installation visit:

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