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Swiss Cottage Gallery

Sextodecimo 2011 -2014 Exhibition:

14 September - 12 October

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of Swiss Cottage Library, artist Elizabeth Wright has curated an exhibition inspired by Sir Basil Spence’s 1964 design of the Library. This new exhibition re-presents Sextodecimo (2011), copying the Library's distinctive exterior concrete fins, alongside Writing table (2014) and three sculptural models.

Basil Spence exhibition

Installation shot of the original Sir Basil Spence table and one of the 12 Writing Tables

Writing table (2014) remodels one of the interior furnishings that the architect Sir Basil Spence designed for the library in 1964. Nine copies of the writing table will be dispersed around the library to be used for study. Originally designed for writing by hand, the now digitally manufactured tables will support the production of digital text, made on the laptop computer, as used by the majority of library users. Three additional tables will act as supports for three sculptural models of the library. These will be plaster casts of laptops, and made in the form of the library exterior. The MacBook Air computer will be copied, as its shape replicates the fin design that runs around the building’s exterior.

These models will be placed either side of the main staircase under the newly renovated Sir Basil Spence designed display panels. Motionless, the models and their table supports will mirror the continuous performance taking place in the surrounding spaces, as the library users, type on their laptops, rested on the Sir Basil Spence model tables.

A series of ‘in conversation’ talks will be held over the duration of the show that will focus on how information is currently housed. Academics from the School of Art and Architecture will respond to the shift in how information is located in Sir Basil Spence’s design of Swiss Cottage Library and consider whether this relationship can be found in current information networks and hard drives. They will also discuss the link between architecture that houses information and its image; how Sir Basil Spence’s buildings were mediated through the modernist photographs of Henk Snoek and consider whether this object / building / image relationship can been translated and if it can be located within current information networks. The first of these talks will take place on the 17th of September from 4pm - 6pm in the Gallery, FREE (no need to book).

Swiss Cottage Gallery Visitor Information

Admission: FREE
Opening times: Mon-Thu 10am-8pm
Fri-Sat 10am-5pm
Sun 11am-4pm

Swiss Cottage Library and Gallery
88 Avenue Rd, London, NW3 3HA

The Gallery Programme

Solo exhibitions by artists and arts organisations based and/or working in the borough area- and beyond- reflecting the contemporary visual arts community of Camden and the visual art and design institutions in the borough.
• Exhibitions that draw attention to the artistic history of Camden and artists that have lived or worked in the borough.
• Regular exhibitions to mark local or national initiatives such as the WW1 centenary or Open House.
• Annual Open Open exhibition, usually in July, which is open to all including professional and non-professional artists alike. For more details and to be added to the mailing list, in order to be notified of this year’s Open Open dates, contact

Swiss Cottage Gallery policy and guidance

download: Swiss Cottage Gallery policy and guidance (PDF 53KB)

For more information and to contact the Gallery, email 

Recent Events

Open Open Exhibition 2014

Open Open

Beyond Seizures: An Exhibition by people with epilepsy, scientists and artists
Beyond Seizures
Another Way of Reading: An Exhibition from the Zabludowicz Collection & Swiss Cottage Gallery in PartnershipDog with KFC bucket on head, copyright courtesy of the artist
Past, Present, Future: Works from Camden's Art CollectionSwiss Cottage Gallery, by VJ VonArt copyright courtesty of the artist
Winter Selection from Camden's Art Collection
The Snow Quilt by Phil Greenwood
2013 Open Open featuring 92 pieces of art painting in the gallery

Page last updated Sep 15, 2014 12:03 PM

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