In Plain Sight: A Major Exhibition On The Way We See

image: Seana Gavin, Hungary, 1999, from ‘What We Wore’ by Nina Manandhar

In October 2022, London’s Wellcome Collection will present ‘In Plain Sight’, a major exhibition exploring the different ways we see and are seen. It is the first exhibition of it’s kind and of this magnitude dedicated purely to sight.

Bringing together 140 objects and artworks, the exhibition will invite us to encounter different experiences of sighted, partially sighted and blind people to consider the subjectivities of vision and blindness and question the central place sight holds in human society.

‘In Plain Sight’ will feature exquisite examples of eyewear from the 1600s to the present day – including an archive pair from Cutler and Gross – reflecting evolving design innovations and style, as well as contemporary artworks and commissions, and historical and scientific material investigating visual perception.

The original Cutler and Gross ‘Eccentric’ frame , worn here by Sting in 1989, will feature in the exhibition

‘In Plain Sight’ will unfold across four themes: symbolism of the eye, bias in visual perception, eyewear and identity, and the interconnection between senses.

Early medical studies of the eye and objects such as Fundus Oculi retina paintings from the 1860s depict the eye as a ‘tell-all’, revealing underlying health conditions before they are visible anywhere else in the body. 

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

‘In Plain Sight’ is masterfully curated by Laurie Britton Newell and Ligaya Salazar. It opens to the public on 20 October 2022 until 12 February 2023 and is free to visit.

For the full list of commissions for this exhibition, visit wellcomecollection.org