A medieval ceiling painted with images of books is the inspiration behind Tania Kovats’ new public work of art for the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

The painted ceiling is in the Bodleian’s Duke Humfrey’s Library, parts of which date back to 1487. Kovats has described the way the books appear to be flying as ‘completely magical’.

In response to these historic images, Kovats has created her installation, The Space of Reading, for the entrance to the Bodleian’s Weston Library. The work comprises 21 ceiling tiles, each featuring the positive cast of an open book. Every tile is unique, having been cast from individual books in Kovats’ own collection.

Kovats has said that these ghostly books do not reference any particular text or volume, but embody the rich history of the Bodleian collection and the books that will be written there in the future.

Kovats studied fine art at Newcastle Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited extensively around Britain, and her other public commissions include works for the National Trust and the Natural History Museum.



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