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PRINT January 1996

LETTER FROM LONDON

Louisa Buck

THE SERPENTINE GALLERY IS NO stranger to the rich and famous. Situated in Hyde Park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, it boasts HRH Princess Diana as a patron as well as a Vanity Fair gala dinner every summer guaranteed to set the paparazzi buzzing. But the venue got more than it bargained for last fall when it put movie actress Tilda Swinton on show and over 21,000 people, including several national news crews, turned up in a single week. Not bad for a live-art event.

Swinton, previously known in the UK as the muse of the late filmmaker Derek Jarman and as the gender-hopping lead in Sally Potter’s Orlando, 1993, is now probably more famous for being an art exhibit. In Cornelia Parker’s installation at the Serpentine Gallery, The Maybe, 1995, Swinton played the toughest role in a career devoted to challenging ones: herself asleep. For seven consecutive days, eight hours a day,

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