Alice Rawsthorn, Chair of Chisenhale Gallery’s Board of Trustees
"It’s quite improbable to imagine that a decommissioned factory in a remote canal-side setting could bolster such a dazzling and unexpected programme of international contemporary art, but not only does Chisenhale continue to push beyond the parameters of convention, it does so in a manner that is both joyful and infectious. Whether at the point of urgent new discovery, or looking back to refresh more established positions, Chisenhale never wavers in its commitment to critical engagement and provocation."
Helen Marten, Artist and Chisenhale Gallery Trustee
We enable emerging or under-represented artists to make significant steps and pursue important new directions in their practice. At the heart of our programme is a remit to commission new work, supporting artists from project inception to realisation and representing an inspiring and challenging range of voices, nationalities and art forms.
For audiences, Chisenhale Gallery provides an opportunity to experience the process of art production intimately – this is a place where art is not collected for presentation but where it is made – and this in itself provides important learning opportunities to critically reflect and participate. As such Chisenhale Gallery operates alternately as an exhibition hall, production agency, research centre and community resource.
In the 1990s Chisenhale Gallery produced their first public exhibitions with artists such as Rachel Whiteread, Cornelia Parker, Gillian Wearing, Sam Taylor Wood, Wolfgang Tillmans, Paul Noble, Pipilotti Rist and Thomas Hirschorn. Artists who have participated in the recent exhibitions programme include: James Richards, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Amalia Pica, Helen Marten, Ed Atkins, Mariana Castillo Deball, Pratchaya Phinthong, Nick Relph, Jordan Wolfson, Camille Henrot, Céline Condorelli, Edward Thomasson, Ed Fornieles, Caragh Thuring, Patrick Staff and Ahmet Öğüt.
Artists participating in the programme have been nominated for the Turner Prize, the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists, the Jarman Award, the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, The Future Generation Art Prize and the Hugo Boss Prize, and participated in major international exhibitions including the Venice Biennial and documenta.
In January 2014 Chisenhale Director Polly Staple was awarded the 2014 Genesis Prize, ‘recognising her work as an outstanding mentor of artistic talent’. This award, worth £25,000, will enable Chisenhale Gallery to expand the scope and quality of its programme by supporting four new commissions by young artists in 2014-16.
Chisenhale Gallery occupies a renovated 1930s veneer factory on Chisenhale Road located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, close to Victoria Park in the heart of London’s East End. With a committed local audience we aim to be a key organisation for artist led activities within the Tower Hamlets community, with a particular focus on providing activities for young people.
Artists commissioned are always chosen due to their desire to explore pioneering new forms and discourses. We actively seek to represent and critically reflect on a diverse range of artistic interests and cultures.
Our online archive is a dynamic research resource and visitors can access audio recordings of all our recent talks alongside documentation on all projects and weekly news features.
Recent commissions have included major film productions, live performances, expanded cinema and cross-over activities with dance, music and theatre alongside painting and sculpture exhibitions or one off talks and film screenings. Gallery and Offsite activities reach over 100,000 people annually with events and performances regularly achieving capacity audiences.
Artists participating in the forthcoming exhibitions programme for 2015 and 2016 include: Nicholas Mangan, Jumana Manna, Park McArthur, Maria Eichhorn, Yuri Pattison and Peter Wächtler.
Ahmet Ögüt and Maria Eichhorn's projects are commissioned as part of How to work together, a major joint initiative with Chisenhale Gallery, The Showroom and Studio Voltaire taking place over three years 2014-16. Yuri Pattison’s project is commissioned as part of his Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency 2015-16 presented as part of Chisenhale’s Offsite programme in partnership with Create.
Offsite includes commissions, collaborations and residencies all taking place outside the gallery. The core focus is on commissioning artists who have specific interests in collaboration and direct engagement with social and cultural contexts. The format aims to facilitate multi-platform outcomes, from site-specific and live events to online platforms; involving local to international partnerships, both intergenerational and interdisciplinary, and provoking unexpected outcomes.
Propeller is a self-directed forum for young people (15-20 years), offering creative learning opportunities beyond formal education. Propeller meets regularly at Chisenhale Gallery holding workshops, excursions and public events.
Chisenhale Gallery is a partner institution on the initiative STOP PLAY RECORD, a new three-year programme for creative young people and filmmakers, aged between 16 - 24, living in London. This is a joint initiative between Arts Council England and Channel 4 and run in partnership with Bloomberg New Contemporaries,Chisenhale Gallery, DAZED, Kingston University, SPACE and led by the ICA. Chisenhale Gallery will work with 6 young people to produce new short films for potential broadcast on Channel 4. A range of associated screenings, talks and events will take place at Chisenhale and across London offering emerging talent access to a range of expert-led opportunities in order to establish and develop their skills.
Chisenhale Gallery is a key organisation for artist-led education activities within the local community, with a particular focus on young people. These include artist-led workshops, family days, coffee mornings, activities for young people and teachers’ previews on site at the gallery. Each year Chisenhale Gallery directly engages with up to 2,000 school children and university students through our partnerships with local schools and higher education institutions.
Resource sharing is central to all our activities and we continuously seek to develop new networks and reach new audiences through collaborations with partner organisations.
Chisenhale Gallery is a founding member of Common Practice an advocacy group working for the recognition and fostering of the small-scale contemporary visual arts sector in London. As an organisation we regularly aim to take the lead and provide a strong voice for the small-scale galleries sector within the wider arts ecology in London, nationally and internationally.
Chisenhale Gallery has been a member of Plus Tate since early 2015. The network was launched in 2010 with an aim to share collections and expertise and build a network that would use Tate’s resources to strengthen the contemporary visual arts ecology in the UK.