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Artist Luke Jerram Invites Visitors to ‘Mars’ at Exeter Cathedral

Mars: War & Peace at Kensington & Chelsea Festival by Dave Parry, Press Association.

Artist Luke Jerram Invites Visitors to ‘Mars’ at Exeter Cathedral

Celebrated artist Luke Jerram will display an out-of-this-world sculpture at Exeter Cathedral next month. His Mars: War and Peace is a seven-metre replica of the Red Planet, created using high-resolution NASA imagery of the Martian surface. It is the latest artwork by Jerram to be displayed in Exeter Cathedral, following on from his other astronomical installations, Museum of the Moon and Gaia.

With each centimetre of the artwork’s internally lit spherical sculpture representing ten kilometres of the surface of Mars (an approximate scale of 1:1million), Jerram’s creation is to be suspended from Exeter Cathedral’s famous stone vault nave ceiling from 1 to 28 February. A newly created sound composition by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones, featuring the sounds of seas, deserts and clips from NASA missions to Mars, will accompany the sculpture.

Photo by Bob Pitchford

The planet was named Mars after the Roman god of war because of its blood-like colour, and as Jerram explains, his sculpture is intended to highlight injustice and the effects of war:

“Presented with a new soundtrack in the context of a church or cathedral, a space to encourage peaceful contemplation, Mars: War & Peace provides an opportunity for people to consider the history of human conflict around the world.

“I hope that visitors will feel transported to the inhospitable, desert wasteland of Mars, whilst also reflecting on the realities of war for the ordinary communities of people on our own planet.”

The accompanying audio composition will also incorporate the sounds of distant bombing and people marching, as if to war.

The Very Rev’d Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter hopes that the arrival of the new sculpture will encourage both new and regular visitors to contemplate the universe:

“I’m really looking forward to the arrival of Mars: War & Peace at Exeter Cathedral. I have enjoyed Luke Jerram’s previous artworks, Museum of the Moon and Gaia [Jerram’s Earth sculpture], but there’s something about Mars that is even more remote and enigmatic. It will be great to have a chance to engage face-to-face with the Red Planet, and to ponder the mystery and miracles of the universe, and the God who created it.”

The artwork will allow visitors to view Mars from the perspective of a satellite, mapping and studying the surface in detail. Jerram concludes:

“Visitors to Exeter Cathedral will be transported to this desert wasteland, to imagine what it is like to step foot on the incredible Red Planet, and in comparison, really value life on Earth.”

Luke Jerram’s Mars: War and Peace will be at Exeter Cathedral from Thursday 1 to Wednesday 28 February. Tickets cost £6 per person including cathedral admission, with free admission for under 18s within a family group. Advance booking is recommended. 

Photo: Mars: War & Peace at Kensington & Chelsea Festival, 2023 by Dave Parry, Press Association.