The Reading Room, a project initiated by Book Works in London, Glasgow and Oxford, takes the form of a series of new commissions by artists and writers on the theme of books, reading a knowledge acquired through reading.
In Susan Brind and Jim Harold’s installation, Mysteries of the Heart, a photograph of an anatomy lecture theatre dominates the gallery, which also houses a series of glass tables etched with texts. The work explores the anatomy lecture theatre as a space where the body is interpreted – where intellectualy understanding a knowledge is gained through the physical act of opening and ‘reading’ the body. As with Brind and Harold’s previous collaborations, the work is not solely about the literal, physical or tangible, but explores layers and thresholds of meaning evoked by juxtapositions. The artists, who also work independently, have had collaborative works that have been in exhibitions at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Cambridge Darkroom and as part of Haut Der Stadt, Bremen.
Writers Michael Bracewell, Janice Galloway, and Jackie Kay were commissioned by Book Works to produce new texts describing their idea of ‘the reading room’ as a physical site and a conceptual space. These tests form the basis of the installation in Studio 2 which was developed by the writers in collaboration with Book Works.
Also Part of The Reading Room, the Freud Museum (20 Maresfield Gardens, NW3 – 5 minutes walk from Camden Arts Centre), hosts a new work by Susan Hiller, exploring how collections ‘read’, based on her reactions to Freud’s writings and his private collection of art, artefacts, texts and photographs.
The Reading Room is funded by the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Scottish Arts Council, London Art Board, Southern Arts, London Borough of Camden, Oxford County Council, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Goethe Institut. For further details about the project, including events and exhibitions at the British Library, the Slade, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.