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
Chisenhale Gallery was founded by artists in the early 1980s in a former veneer factory and brewery on Chisenhale Road. Since then the building has been home to Chisenhale Gallery and our neighbours Chisenhale Dance Space and Chisenhale Studios.
In the 1990s the gallery produced first solo exhibitions in the UK with artists such as Rachel Whiteread, Cornelia Parker, Pipilotti Rist, Wolfgang Tillmans, Gillian Wearing and Thomas Hirschhorn. More recently the gallery has commissioned new works by Ed Atkins, Helen Marten, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Hito Steyerl, Camille Henrot, Jumana Manna, Maria Eichhorn and Yuri Pattison.
Building on this rich history, we continue to place artists at the centre of our activities. The 2016-17 programme includes major commissions by Peter Wächtler, Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, Maeve Brennan, Luke Willis Thompson and Hannah Black.
Chisenhale Gallery is a registered charity and one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations. All programmes are fundraised for in entirety through private benefactors, funding bodies, sponsors, trusts and foundations and earned income streams such as sales of limited edition prints and event ticketing. Resource sharing is central to all our activities and we collaborate with other organisations to co-produce the majority of our projects.
Artists participating in the recent programme have been awarded the Turner Prize, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists, the Jarman Award, the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, The Future Generation Art Prize and the Hugo Boss Prize. Chisenhale artists have also participated in major international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale and documenta. Chisenhale Gallery’s Director Polly Staple was awarded the Genesis Prize in 2014, ‘recognising her work as an outstanding mentor of artistic talent’.
Artists are 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. Artists are given a platform to make ambitious new work often in response to the gallery’s unique space, a renovated 1930s veneer factory of 2,500 square feet.
Recent commissions have included major film productions, live performances, expanded cinema and crossover activities with dance, music and theatre alongside painting and sculpture exhibitions.
Artists participating in the programme for 2016 and 2017 include: Peter Wächtler, Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, Maeve Brennan, Luke Willis Thompson and Hannah Black.
The Online Commissions programme invites artists to produce works as digital presentations on our website in tandem with live events in our spaces. Recent online commissions have been produced by Ahmet Öğüt, Wojciech Kosma, Ian Law, Leah Clements, Rachel Pimm, Josh Bitelli and Shen Xin.
Offsite comprises commissions, collaborations and residencies all taking place outside the gallery. The core focus is working with artists who have a specific interest in collaboration and direct engagement with social and cultural contexts.
Offsite includes the Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency, an 18-month residency produced in partnership with Create. During the residency the artist produces work that engages with our local East End community. Luke Willis Thompson is the Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency artist (2016 –17).
Talks & Events
A series of talks and events runs concurrent to the exhibitions programme and features lectures, screenings and workshops. Recent events have included conversations between exhibiting artists, writers, curators and theorists, guided tours of the exhibitions, as well as presentations and discussions, which expand on ideas within the artists’ work.
Our online archive is a dynamic research resource. Visitors can access audio or video recordings of our talks, alongside documentation of projects and weekly news features.
Stop Play Record is a three-year initiative (2015 –18) for young people aged 16 –24, who live in London and are interested in experimental film. We are working with six young people over three years on the production of six new short films. A series of talks and workshops runs throughout the programme, offering young people access to a range of expert-led activities and the opportunity to meet their peers and share ideas.
For the second year of the programme Chisenhale Gallery is working with Korallia Stergides and Raheela Suleman. In 2015–16 we produced works with Ayo Akingbade and William Glass.
Stop Play Record forms part of a joint initiative between Arts Council England and Channel 4, which sees the Institute of Contemporary Arts lead a London Network in partnership with Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Chisenhale Gallery, DAZED, Kingston University and SPACE.
Schools and Higher Education
Chisenhale Gallery is an essential resource for the local education sector. Chisenhale Gallery Presents is a series of presentations at local secondary schools on the gallery’s activities, delivered in collaboration with Chisenhale artists who engage directly with young people interested in the arts.
Chisenhale Gallery welcomes group visits to our exhibitions from schools, universities and colleges. We provide introductions to the exhibitions by members of our curatorial team, as well as the use of our education studio for seminars and further discussion.
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.