Let This Be a Sign

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A photo-montage of the omnipresent “Sale” signs now seen in shop windows across Britain © Simon Roberts
Let This Be a Sign

Swiss Cottage Library
88 Avenue Rd
London NW3 3HA
United Kingdom
May 25th, 2012 - July 1st, 2012
Opening: May 24th, 2012 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

camden town
020 7974 4001
Mon-Fri 10-8; Sat 10-5; Sun 11-4
London Festival of Photography, photography
Free. Disabled Access: This event has wheelchair access


This is part of the London Festival of Photography.

New work from Simon Roberts looking at the economic, political and social effects of the recent UK recession. Alongside the exhibition, a participatory space will be set up where visitors will be invited to share their thoughts and experiences.

Simon Roberts has been photographing the landscape of the UK extensively since 2007, the results of which include the acclaimed publication We English (Chris Boot 2009) and his appointment as the official Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee in 2010. During this time he has witnessed the credit crunch as it unfolded, giant institutions previously presumed to be immovable features of the economic landscape teetering on the brink of collapse, and the country moving into a period of enforced austerity. 

While it seems that not a day goes by without more grim economic news, the current recession has been largely invisible. This is in spite of the fact that the eventual effects of such news – a lost job, a vanishing pension, cuts to social services – are intensely personal. Over the past eighteen months Roberts has been looking at modes of representing the physical, political and social effects of economic change.  His approach has been multi-disciplinary, using photographs, moving image, and text and collecting physical objects such as protest banners, in an attempt to find ways of interrogating our new predicament and the shifting perception of the country’s economic and political landscape.

As with his previous projects, Roberts will be adding a collaborative, interactive element to this exhibition by encouraging public participation. There will be a pop-up library of economic-related literature available to read, share and discuss as well as a wall for the public to leave messages about how they have been affected by the recent cuts and suggest ideas for change.

Simon Roberts studied a BA Hons Degree in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. His photographs have been exhibited widely with recent solo shows at the National Media Museum, EX3 Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea (Italy), and Centro Brasileiro Britânico (Brazil). Roberts' images are represented in major public and private collections, including the Deutsche Börse Art Collection, George Eastman House and Wilson Centre for Photography.

In recognition for his work, Roberts has received several awards including the Vic Odden Award (2007), offered for a notable achievement in the art of photography by a British photographer, and bursaries from the National Media Museum (2008) and the John Kobal Foundation (2008). Most recently he was commissioned as the official Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee (2010) to produce a record of the UK General Election.

He has published two monographs, Motherland (Chris Boot, 2007) and We English (Chris Boot, 2009). Roberts’ approach is one of creating wide-ranging surveys of our time, which communicate on important social, economic and political issues. His photographs exhibit a disciplined compositional restraint, a richness of palette and a wealth of narrative incident.

The gallery will be closed on the 4th and 5th June for the bank holiday.