A view of CHELSEA space from the outside

CHELSEA space is a public exhibiting space where invited art and design professionals are encouraged to work on experimental curatorial projects that may not otherwise be realised.

The emphasis is on curatorial experimentation, the exposure of process and ideas, and re-readings of artworks and archives and their re-presentation for contemporary audiences. CHELSEA space is a platform for discussion and questions rather than definitive answers.

CHELSEA space is sited on the Millbank campus of Chelsea College of Arts, next to Tate Britain, and provides extra-curricular interest for the school and open access to the widest possible audiences.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Wednesday - Friday, 11am - 5pm

Admission charges


Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Mario Dubsky, Dreamer, charcoal on paper, 1975

Mario Dubsky: Xeno Factor

  • 27 September — 27 October 2017 *on now

In September CHELSEA space will present an exhibition of paintings and drawings by the influential artist and educator Mario Dubsky (1939-1985). Including material from all the phases of his working life, the show will explore his quest for a powerful visual language with which to express his ideas as a gay man and artist.

Dubsky described himself as ‘zeitgeist’— a spirit of his time. Born in London just before the outbreak of the Second World War, his parents were newly arrived refugees from Vienna, with roots in both Slavic and Jewish heritage. Reflecting his entangled cultural background (in addition he and his parents were baptized), his early paintings were dark, heavily wrought, expressionistic and haunted by images of the Holocaust, Hiroshima and Guernica.

Studying at the Slade School, Dubsky fell under the influence of the late work of David Bomberg through his friendship with the mature student, Dorothy Mead. His studies were further broadened by travel in Greece and Italy, where he added the classical and mythological Mediterranean into his lexicon. With further travels through Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascas, Palmyra and Jerusalem, Dubsky interwove the Jewish, Arab, Christian, Greek and Roman worlds into his creative imagination and personal mythology.

Confirming his own identity as a homosexual, Dubsky found his subjective approach to art making at odds with the dominant idioms of abstraction and Pop Art. It was only when he moved to New York at the end of the sixties that Dubsky would engage with the emergent gay rights movement that was exposing inequality through the Stonewall Riots against anti-gay legislation. This movement stood alongside the continuing Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam protests that exposed the divisions within life and politics in the US. Deeply affected, Dubsky made a large photomontage mural for the Gay Activists Alliance building in Soho, New York in 1971, and these experiences would affect the path his practice took for the rest of his life.

By the mid 1970s, moving between New York, where he attended life drawing classes at the Studio School and London, where he taught at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, Dubsky immersed himself in drawing — inspiring a willing group of students (including CHELSEA space Director, Donald Smith) with his energy and intensity. Drawings of the male figure he made at this time were not merely anatomical studies, they were declarations — poetic, political, erotic, metaphorical and allegorical. Responding to the blasphemy charges brought against the underground magazine Gay News in 1977, for the publication of a poem concerning a homosexual Roman Centurion’s love for Christ at the crucifixion, Dubsky produced a book of poems and drawings entitled Tom Pilgrim’s Progress Through the Consequences of Christianity (1981). These works again confirmed his commitment to publically declaring his resistance to sexual and political suppression (of any kind), through his art making.

Uncompromising to the point of being described as obtuse and antagonistic, Dubsky’s candid declaration of his sexuality combined with the complexities of his background, often left him excluded from the art world of the time. Again, drawing on these experiences informed the title for his solo show at the South London Art Gallery (now South London Gallery) in 1984. The title, X Factor, a reference to the Greek form xeno, meaning ‘stranger’ or ‘unknown quantity’, was to become a poignant statement, as sadly the artist was to die a year later of an AIDS related illness.

Mario Dubsky: Xeno Factor is curated by Donald Smith with David Ferry. Works in the exhibition are courtesy of the collections of Anthony Duschell and David Ferry.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Installing Richard Woods, Holiday Home at the Folkestone Triennial 2017

Richard Woods: Second Home

  • 15 November — 15 December 2017

"On one of my first visits to Folkestone, as I walked up the high street from the harbour, I was given a small piece of paper. The note offered me a ‘quick cash sale on my house’. The simple statement made me think about who would be selling up their house and moving out of Folkestone; who maybe moving in; where would be a good place to buy a new home; and where you should avoid. It made me think also about whether second home ownership added to the housing problems in towns similar to Folkestone or whether it added to the life of the town and more broadly about immigration, wealth distribution and about a town’s natural population fluidity." (Richard Woods, 2017)

Chelsea Space presents 'Richard Woods: Second Home', an insight into the working practices of internationally renowned artist, Richard Woods. Woods practice of architectural, design and material interventions with graphic line and vibrant colour provide striking interruptions within a designated environment. This exhibition explores this practice through preparatory maquettes and drawings for the finished installation 'Holiday Home' at the Folkestone Triennial 2017.

Identical in size and design, 'Holiday Home' comprised of six ‘cartoon bungalows’, set down in Folkestone where you may not have expected to find a house - in the harbour, on a traffic roundabout, sinking into the pebbles on the beach.

Containing new sculptures, paintings and photography, this exhibition includes material charting the fabrication, installation and public reaction to 'Holiday Home' exhibited at the 2017 Folkestone Triennial. The material exhibited in 'Second Home' will provide a contemporary retrospective on the recent project, reinforcing some of the issues that 'Holiday Home' activated, while creating ongoing discussion around this project and interpretations of public art in general.

British artist Richard Woods graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1990. His architectural interventions are chiefly concerned with the re-surfacing of existing structures, and they propose an absurd twist on the cult of home improvement and DIY aesthetics. Selected exhibitions and projects: ‘Holiday Home’, Folkestone Triennial, Folkestone (2017); ‘Building Landscapes’, David Risley Gallery, Denmark (2017); ‘Duckweave’, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2016); Festival of Love, Southbank Centre, London (2015); ‘Inclosure Acts, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (2015); ‘Country Life’, Albion Barn, Oxford (2015); ‘Post Pop: East meets West’, Saatchi Gallery, London (2014); Richard Woods, Alan Cristea Gallery, London (2013); Frieze Sculpture Park, London, (2013); ‘WRONGWOODS’, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2009); designed interior, Comme des Garçons’ flagship store, Osaka (2003); The Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects, 50th International Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2002); ‘Super Tudor’, Deitch Gallery, New York (2002). Richard Woods lives and works in London.

Special thanks to Michael Iveson and Richard Woods Studio


Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street
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