Swiss Cottage Gallery
Swiss Cottage Gallery blooms on a crossroads of historical, artistic and communal engagement.
Its location - within an architectural landmark building designed by Sir Basil Spence, renowned for his brilliant Modernist and Brutalist designs - is fitting for many reasons. Basil’s utopian design, created around the idea of airy openness, shows knowledge (the library), art (the gallery) and community (the surrounding area) as entangled concepts through glass dividers and spiraling staircases that connect different areas of the building almost fluidly. Contrary to its size, the building has an ethereal feel to it. Much like the Modernist utopian architecture that surrounds the space, the Gallery’s programme aims to connect across a variety of fields, encouraging active involvement from residents and artists while reflecting Camden’s contemporary visual art scene.
Over the years, the Gallery has set up a rich and varied programme, hosting a mix of (inter)national collaborations, solo-shows and inclusive events. The gallery presents six exhibitions a year, each lasting approximately six week. Exhibitions aim to highlight the best of Camden through its incredibly creative local arts community, as well as seeing the Borough through regional and occasionally inter/national eyes Swiss summer programme regular, Open Open, invites artists of any age, amateur or professional, from London or beyond to bring in their own works of art. This is an exciting chance to have work professionally hung in a contemporary gallery space and to become part of a longstanding legacy of famous names the likes of Patrick Hough, Mark Titchner and Frances Scott. Displayed works are often mixed media, with an emphasis on painting and graphics, but increasingly integrating photography and moving image. The exhibition programme is complemented by community programme featuring
Another programme highlight is the yearly display of Camden’s Art Collection. In 2016 the exhibition Anecdotal Evidence, curated by Back to Front Collective, highlighted the hidden stories and personal anecdotes of the collection from artist Jonathan Murphy, who knows the Camden Art Collection like no other and gave an inventive and surprising look into its rich histories. Watch one of the films made for this exhibition below and check out Visual Verse's website who highlighted a piece from the collection during this exhibition and all of the stories it inspired HERE.
One of 2015s highlights wasTall Tales, a playful, all-female show that investigated and questioned the exploration of human experience and opened up the gallery space to include the surrounding library as well as extending beyond Swiss Cottage Library’s walls to the Freud Museum and NHS Tavistock Hospital. Parallel to this show the artists hosted regular public events in which the audience was invited to participate.
Keep an eye out for this year’s line-up, as Swiss Cottage Gallery never ceases to surprise.
Click here for an extensive overview of Swiss Cottage Gallery's Open Open programme!