This year, Chelsea College of Arts is celebrating ten years at its current site at Millbank. A special programme of events to mark the occasion kicked off this summer with the college’s undergraduate degree shows, and the celebrations continue this term with a series of special commissions, events and exhibitions inviting the public to find out more about life for students, staff and alumni at Chelsea.
Since moving to the Grade II listed former Royal Army Medical College buildings, opposite Tate Britain, in 2005, the college has become a landmark in the area which has developed drastically since the 19th Century when the area was home to the notorious Millbank Prison. Indeed, several artists have addressed this element of the site’s history in commissions installed this year at the college as part of the anniversary programme.
Chelsea alumni Aaron McPeake and Anta Germane each produced new work referencing the penitentiary, which for part of its history served as a holding facility for convicted prisoners before they were transported to Australia. These site-specific sculptures were displayed on the plinth previously occupied by the college’s own Two Piece Reclining Figure by Henry Moore while it is on loan to Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2015. The final commission in the series, showing in the space this term to coincide with the London Design Festival, will be Tsai & Yoshikawa Figure No.1 by Hsiao-Chi Tsai and Kimiya Yoshikawa. Taking its inspiration from the absent Moore work, their sculpture will reveal intricate details of abstract shapes, patterns and textures that change with the light and is not to be missed.
Another highlight of the events schedule this autumn is Chelsea 10, a group exhibition showcasing the best of Chelsea’s art and design graduates from the last ten years. When the college moved from its Manresa Road site to Millbank, it brought all of its courses onto one site, enabling cross-fertilisation between them and providing students with the opportunity to share contacts and expand their networks across disciplines.
With work by names such as Haroon Mirza, Jonny Briggs and Helen + Isobel on display, this show will demonstrate the possibility that the site has offered for collaboration between design and fine art, and how this has helped to produce some of the best practitioners emerging from art education in the past decade.
But it’s not just the students who are showcasing their talents this term. In December, Chelsea will be hosting an exhibition of moving image work submitted by staff from across the college as well as from Camberwell and Wimbledon. The work on display will demonstrate the range of practices, skills and talents of campus staff at the three colleges, focusing for the first time on film work including animation and video.
The college’s central open-air exhibition space, the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, will also play host to a spectacular anniversary event. The large open square surrounded on three sides by college buildings acts year-round as a gallery without walls as well as a performance and event venue, and in November will be the perfect spot to view a special fireworks display designed, curated and installed by first year BA Interior and Spatial Design students. Inspired by the architect, theorist and educator Bernard Tschumi’s ‘Fireworks 1974’ manifesto and event staged at the Architectural Association in London, the students will use this form of traditional bonfire night entertainment to explore ideas about the relationship between space and event and space and time.
With even more events in the pipeline, the programme aims to give staff and former and current students the opportunity to look back at their successes over the past ten years’ and invites the outside world into Chelsea to become part of our community and celebrate with us – we hope you can join us.
Chelsea College of Arts celebrates 10 Years at Millbank with events taking place across the college until December 2015. For the most up-to-date programme, please visit our events pages.
A panel discussion entitled 10 Years at Millbank: The Art School takes place on 12 November, 6-8pm. For more information and booking, please visit the event page.
For more information about studying at Chelsea, please visit our course pages.
You can also visit the site for yourself if you attend an Open Day, you can book your place online.