Avenue Gallery

Avenue Gallery, The University of Northampton
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Avenue Gallery offers a diverse and contemporary programme of temporary exhibitions which reflects the range of activities and academic ambitions within the School of the Arts. As well as showcasing student work and staff research, Avenue Gallery hosts regular exhibitions by established artists which demonstrate the University's engagement with the wider cultural and academic community. The University also houses the Osborne Robinson Collection of historic posters.

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Opening hours


Closed: Weekends, Bank Holidays and University vacations.

Admission charges


Additional info

Exhibitions at Avenue Gallery are open to the public during the specified hours, but access to the Osborne Robinson Poster Collection archive is by appointment only.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Alexandra Murphy 'Specere' exhibition poster

Specere: An Exhibition by Alexandra Murphy

  • 20 — 27 October 2017 *on now

Specere is an amalgamation of project work produced over the past ten years. The works explore potential connections between metapsychology, museology and photography -­ between Todestrieb, or death-­drive (Sigmund Freud), decay and possibilities of defiance in attempts to preserve the past. ‘Specere’ is the Latin root word for common words such as: specimen; spectacle; species – all words relevant to my research, thus Specere becomes a symbolic word for the interplay between life and death, past and present within the museum space.

Dogs: An Inert State (2014) explores the possibility that the relationship between the photograph and taxidermy specimen constitutes a metaphorical double defiance of death. Upon first glance the dogs appear as if 'alive' -­‐ noble silent creatures reminiscent of those portraits found in national galleries, before the anomalies of glass reflections and scratches reveal the inertness of these specimens behind the glass -­‐ their Gebrochenheit, or broken translation (Walter Benjamin) between past and present.

Specere I: Appareil (2017) examines the theatricality and spectacle of the modern museum through Michel Foucault’s proposition of this being a heterotopic space of governance and surveillance. As a spatialised projection, the juxtaposed photographs and diegetic audio emulate the physicality of the museological space in a bid to disclose dialectical remnants of the earlier archetypal Wunderkammer within.

Specere II: Fixing the Shadows (2016) was funded by the Royal Photographic Society and explores the preservational relationship between the museum taxidermy display and the salt print, one of the earliest processes of preserving the photograph. The dramaturgical displays are explicit constructions of preservation against decay; the salt
print, a fragile representation of an inevitable demise, recalling Sigmund Freud’s repetition-­‐
compulsion and a slow return toward a metaphorical death.

Spirits (2007) was photographed at the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology and explores Sigmund Freud’s notions of unheimlichkeit (the uncanny/unhomely) – a shifting presence of the familiar versus unfamiliar and eerie imaginings of the inanimate becoming animate. While the viewer recognises the spectacle being looked at, they simultaneously experience something more akin to an uneasy fascination with the unknown.

Alexandra Murphy


Suitable for

  • Any age

Avenue Gallery
Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology
The University of Northampton
St. George's Avenue






01604 893050

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