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In Plain Sight

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Photograph of two people exploring an exhibition. They are stood side by side at a display case which contains pairs of spectacles. Outside of the case are two pairs of spectacles which the visitors are able to touch and explore with their hands. The rest of the gallery behind them is dark blue, except for a spotlit colourful framed photograph on the wall showing an individual in a bright red dress wearing white rimmed sun glasses with a large domed metal object on their lap.
In Plain Sight, exhibition, Gallery photo: Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Ambitious, lucid, accessible, informative, substantial and totally free. Plainly: a must-see. ★★★★

Time Out

‘In Plain Sight’ explores the different ways we see and are seen by others. It questions the central place that sight holds in human society through the different experiences of sighted, partially sighted and blind people. 

‘In Plain Sight’ unfolds across four themes: symbolism of the eye, bias in visual perception, eyewear and identity, and the interconnection between senses. It examines the tools that shape how we view the world through historical and contemporary artworks and objects, including examples of eyewear from the 1600s to the present day, and scientific and medical items investigating visual perception.  

The exhibition brings together new commissions from artists Emilie Gossiaux, Nina Manandhar and Alexandra Zsigmond, as well works by Jo Bannon, Hassan Hajaj, Carmen Papalia, Jon Rafman, Seana Gavin and Phillip Warnell. It also presents the collaborative practice, Keiken (Hana Omori, Isabel Ramos and Tanya Cruz) and another collaboration by Georgina Kleege, Fayen d’Evie, Katy West, convened by Whitney Mashburn and Carmen Papalia.

The visual sense has long dominated and conditioned our language, value systems and institutions. ‘In Plain Sight’ asks what happens when we open ourselves up to seeing in different ways. 

The exhibition is curated by Laurie Britton Newell and Ligaya Salazar.  

We're providing a series of 'Lights Up' sessions during the exhibition, where you'll be able to explore ‘In Plain Sight’ in brighter and more even lighting conditions across the gallery. Each bookable session (see below) includes a short audio-described tour of the exhibition.

Exhibition guide

A digital exhibition guide, with audio description, British Sign Language and captions and transcripts is available to use on your own phone or device. You can access the guide using QR codes in the gallery, and there is a tactile line on the gallery floor to guide you between stops.

This visual story (PDF 2400kb) contains information to help you plan and prepare for your visit.