Angelo Vermeulen | HI SEAS MIssion I, 2013



One Way Ticket to Mars

Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort
Amersfoort, Netherlands



One Way Ticket to Mars offers visitors a direct experience of various aspects of the journey to and living on Mars. How relentless are the conditions of this planet to be discovered? Is living on Mars a frightening idea or a provocative thought?

One Way Ticket to Mars allows visitors to experience various aspects of the journey to Mars and what it is like there. How relentless are the conditions of this planet awaiting to be discovered? Is living on Mars a frightening idea, or a provocative thought? As from 21 September, Kunsthal KAdE will present a vision of what so far is still an impossible journey. The exhibition comprises four narratives: the desire, the journey, the stay and homesickness. It features new and existing works by artists, designers, architects and scientists from the Netherlands and abroad.

Science journalist Govert Schilling created a timeline for the exhibition with the most important milestones and unique objects in the history of space exploration to Mars. He included NASA and ESA photos to show the beauty of the planet.

Life on Mars
Mars is the closest planet to earth. Christiaan Huygens mapped the planet back in 1659. In 2011, the Amersfoort-based organisation Mars One announced plans to start a colony on Mars. Within a short time, one thousand candidates had expressed interest in a one-way trip to Mars. Elon Musk from SpaceX assumes that it will be possible to build a Mars base as soon as 2024. NASA is wondering whether it will be able to launch a manned mission to Mars in the future.

Imaginative art
Where does this search for the unknown originate? Visual art is perfect for imagining a journey to an undiscovered destination. For this exhibition, artists and designers portray possible outcomes. They identify obstacles and propose solutions. Work by artists including Jan Fabre, Carel Willink and Tom Claassen will be displayed alongside works by a younger generation of artists and scientists such as Luke Jerram and Angelo Vermeulen.

A highlight of the exhibition is a spot painting calibration target by Damien Hirst. In 2003, scientist Colin Pillinger placed Hirst's work aboard the Beagle 2 spacecraft, an unmanned spacecraft with the mission to search for a sign of life on the red planet. NASA lost contact with the probe for a while, but in 2015 it turned out that the vessel had indeed landed on Mars. Damien Hirst said Martians would appreciate his work if they exist: "If they've got eyes, they'll love it."

The story of the trip to Mars will unfold in four narratives: the desire, the journey, the stay and homesickness. The curiosity about the unknown and the constant desire to transcend ourselves is aroused immediately upon arrival. In the dark main room, a luminous colossal Mars globe of 6 metres in diameter floats in the space. Commissioned by Kunsthal KAdE, the work was created  by UK artist Luke Jerram.

The trip to Mars currently takes approximately eight months. Edith Dekyndt poetically visualises the feeling of gravity that occurs along the way. Her video Slow object no. 4 shows an elastic band dancing up and down in her hand. In another room, visitors find themselves on Mars. Katie Paterson reveals the passing of time in our galaxy in her work Timepieces. On Mars, a day lasts 24 hours, 37 minutes and 22,663 seconds. Finally, visitors are confronted with homesickness. Kunsthal KAdE asked a number of individuals, from a space travel specialist to a philosopher, what they would take with them to Mars to ease their homesickness. Henk Stallinga created an installation that represents the major missing element on Mars: the sea. We hear and see the surf on the coast in his work.

The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by sociologist and author Ruben Jacobs. Writing about the desire to go to Mars, Jacobs also poses critical questions; for instance, he states: ‘recreating a biosphere on a planet that is extremely hostile to humans such as Mars is still far more difficult than keeping our own planet habitable as a place to live’.

Participating artists: Carolien Arnold (NL, 1976); Tom Claassen (NL, 1964); Edith Dekyndt (BE, 1960); Layla van Ellen (NL, 1993); Jan Fabre (BE, 1958); Karl Hans Janke (DE, 1909-1988); Damien Hirst (UK, 1965); Luke Jerram (UK, 1974); Ryoichi Kurokawa (JP, 1978); Lena Lapschina (RU, 1965); Lucy McRae (UK, 1979); Bjørn Melhus (DE, 1966); Constant Nieuwenhuijs (NL ,1920-2005); Olphaert den Otter (NL, 1955); Katie Paterson (UK, 1981); Michiel Pijpe (NL, 1981); Thomas Ruff (DE, 1958); Tomas Schats (NL, 1976); Roland Sips (NL, 1954-2012); Spullenmannen (NL); Henk Stallinga (NL, 1962); Franziska Steingen (DE, 1988); Tobias Tebbe (NL, 1980); Angelo Vermeulen (BE,1971 ); Carel Willink (NL, 1900-1983)

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    21 September 2019 - 12 January 2020


    Judith van Meeuwen

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    Title Year
    Ruimtevaart 1957