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Space celebrates 50 years with new exhibition that digs deep into its archives


Artists performance at St. Katharine Docks, 1968-1970, © Andrew C Tweedie 1967-74. All rights reserved.

The pioneering visual arts organisation, Space, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an exhibition that digs deep into its archival footage between 1968 and 1975. Space was originally founded in 1968 by Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley with the aim to provide affordable creative studios and exhibition opportunities for artists. 50 years later, the organisation runs across 19 buildings, providing low-cost creative workspaces, support schemes and educational projects for communities and local schools.

The new exhibition will showcase extensive press cuttings about Space’s first site at St Katharine Docks, as well as public screenings of a rare interview with Bridget Riley talking about the impact more room had on artists’ work. The exhibition also documents the institution’s initial aims and intentions. A series of events have been scheduled to run throughout the year in celebration of Space, including a panel discussion with the organisation’s co-founder, Peter Sedgley, who will discuss how today’s emerging artists can create the space they need to be creative in London.

Anna Harding, Space’s CEO, says: “What was unique about Space was the boldness of its vision back in 1968. It proved that artists could work in partnership with government and property developers to provide initiatives for artists that could be self-sustaining. Today, we continue to be leaders in this sector," she explains. “There is this perception that artists are leaving London in droves, whereas in fact we have found the opposite is true. Artists really want to remain in the capital and Space is doing everything it can to enable them to do that, by finding more freeholds and long leaseholds. Our focus for the future is to ensure that artists can live and work sustainably in London in perpetuity.”


SPACE artists at St Katharine Docks, 1968-70. Photo c. Douglas Smith.