Close Looking: Collection Studies from the Roberts Institute of Art

22 Nov 2023 – 3 Dec 2023

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 16:00

Free admission

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Cromwell Place

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • South Kensington
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This exhibition is about close looking and reading. Six writers of different backgrounds have been specially commissioned to write responses to six works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection, with texts that span from poetry to storytelling.


The Roberts Institute of Art brings together six artists and writers with six works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection. Each writer has been invited to select and study a single artwork from the Collection to develop new texts, which span from poetry to storytelling. The exhibition is part of our commitment to bringing in diverse perspectives to an internationally significant collection. 

Renee Gladman on Ayan Farah 

Imani Mason Jordan on Ellen Gallagher 

Julie Ezelle Patton on Eva Hesse 

Heather Philipson on Emma Talbot 

Marina Warner on Paula Rego 

Osman Yousefzada on Prem Sahib

This exhibition is a development of our ongoing Collection Study series – case-studies of individual works from the Collection. In this series, we encourage writers to think with and write alongside the work, using the encounter to experiment with their written response. Reflecting on what ‘to study’ means, the series is rooted in both senses of the word: of paying attention to a particular subject and work done for practice or experiment. 

A compendium of various voices not bound by one theme or overarching idea, the exhibition shows the breadth of textual responses to works of art, while allowing works from the collection to expand and inspire the writer’s own practice.

Each writer has also recorded an audio version of their text, which you can listen to while looking at the work. 


What to expect? Toggle


Yates Norton

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Emma Talbot

Eva Hesse

Ellen Gallagher

Prem Sahib

Paula Rego

Ayan Farah


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