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Bodleian Library

Modus Operandi was commissioned to produce an Art Strategy for the newly renovated Bodleian Library; and to propose artists’ interventions that alluded laterally to the Bodleian’s holdings and provided an insight into aspects of its special collections and 400-year history.


Tania Kovats was selected for her proposal The Space of Reading. Her starting point was ‘the exploration of the space of reading’rather than a selection of a single text or reference. As such, the work, takes on physical form that does not reference a particular text or book but instead ‘embodies the time depth of the collection held in the library as well as traveling forward in time to suggest the books that have not yet been written.’


The work, integrated into the ceiling of the South Colonnade Soffit architecture, comprises 21 ceiling reliefs and sculptures, each cast from books of various dimensionsfrom Kovats’ own collection.


The painted ceiling in the Bodleian’s Duke Humfrey’s Library was a major inspiration for Kovats who has described the way the books appear to be flying, ‘as completely magical’.


For further information:






Tania Kovats

Title of work

The Space of Reading


University of Oxford


Wilkinson Eyre





Image credit

The Space of Reading