Past exhibitions


Poetry Machines by Lucy Harrison | 14-Apr-09

A new exhibition in response to a collection of poetry instigated by artist in residence Lemn Sissay as a way of celebrating the diversity of poetry in its many forms from Wordsworth to Goldfrapp as it comes through Southbank Centre.


Headspace | 25-Nov-08

A new exhibition of photographic portraits by Stephen McLaren.

Sinta Tantra 2

Sinta Tantra: "A Good Time and a Half!" | 12-Jul-08

Sinta Tantra has transformed the Library's exhibition space, creating a terraced stage area swathed in colourful painted imagery. The work pays homage to the performative aspects of poetry, with visitors invited to ascend the stage to enjoy a sweeping panorama of the Southbank Centre. The vista includes exceptional views of the major outdoor installations in the Hayward Gallery's Psycho Buildings exhibition. By interacting with the work in this way, visitors become aware of their own physical presence and the part they are playing in the surrounding spectacle. The bright, geometric motifs, including angular panes of colour and symbols, play on the seminal graphic designs made by Abram Games for the emblem of the Festival. The event heralded the achievements and potential of Great Britain, and this outward, optimistic tone chimes closely with Tantra's own practice, which examines the power and delight of surface images. The title of the work, "A Good Time and a Half!", was a quote from one visitor to the Festival. It evokes an old-fashioned idea of fun that, in a society when other meanings of leisure and culture have taken hold, we find antiquated but also attractive - kitsch, honest, more care-free.

Journey from winter

Journey from winter: works by Liz Mathews | 05-Apr-08

Liz Mathews, studio potter and lettering artist, celebrates texts in the Poetry Library's unrivalled collections, focusing on the work of Valentine Ackland (whose Selected Poems are newly published) and other poets represented in Ackland's own bequest to the Library. Working with clay and reclaimed materials, Mathews places words at the heart of her process, in an interpretative act she likens to setting poetry to music. Here, her work includes wall-panels, commissioned paintings and votive objects. Among the poets represented are Kathleen Raine, Muriel Rukeyser, Sappho and Ruth Pitter in an exhibition that draws on one poet's treasures.

William Blake

William Blake Mosaics | 22-Jan-08

The Saison Poetry Library hosts an exhibition of mosaics based on William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth. Blake was a visionary poet and artist who spent part of his life in Lambeth. These mosaics, created by local people, are one strand of the William Blake Heritage Project. This project aims to develop a shared understanding of Blake's work in the local community, and is run by Southbank Mosaics in partnership with Southbank Sinfonia and Futures Theatre Company.

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Sam Winston: volume | 15-Oct-07

Visual artist Sam Winston explores the Poetry Library collection

Stephen Raw open&shut&open

Stephen Raw: open&shut&open | 04-Jul-07

Stephen Raw's new exhibition relaunches The Poetry Library after two years' closure

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Stephen Raw: A Darkling Plain | 11-Jan-05

Dissenting Language: Poets and War

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