The birth of SPACE artist initiative in 1968 coincided with student protests and autonomous interventions in cities across Europe. Asserting the rights to space was a theme common to student sit-ins, squatting and free festivals.
The unique contribution made by SPACE to the city is that artist founders Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley negotiated vast amounts of space for creativity through legitimate means. They persuaded authorities and landlords to lease them property to which the artists brought new life and creative uses. Many have subsequently benefitted from the example set.
The book celebrates the contribution of this artist-run initiative to London. The focus is on 1968–75, when SPACE and its sister organisation AIR came into fruition, a period which has much influence for artists and policy today. The story of SPACE is relevant to artists in cities across the globe who face challenges of working in ever-more expensive and congested cities.
Essays by artists Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley, plus Mel Dodd, Will Fowler, Larne Abse Gogarty, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Robert Kudielka, Courtney J. Martin, Alicia Miller, David Morris, Neil Mulholland, Naomi Pearce, Ana Torok and Andrew Wilson.
Accompanies the exhibition, Archive display at SPACE HQ, London, January – March 2018.
Main Image: I-Site at St. Katharine Docks, 1968-1970, photo c. Douglas Smith