“the best-kept arts secret in Britain” Iain Sinclair
CGP London is an artist-led gallery of contemporary art based across two venues in Southwark Park; The Gallery and Dilston Grove. Founded in 1984 by The Bermondsey Artists’ Group, the gallery has commissioned and presented over 140 free exhibitions by emergent, overlooked and established British and international artists.
Our mission is to foster career development by providing excellent opportunities for artists and curators to develop their ideas and practice through the supportive and professional presentation of their work in our unique park setting, integrated within a meaningful community and learning programme. We have a commitment to the promotion of contemporary artists and the positioning of their work in national and private collections.*
CGP London is a registered charity and Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, supported by the London Borough of Southwark as well as relying on key support from various Trusts, Foundations, sponsors, sales of art, donations and venue hire to sustain our ambitious programme of contemporary art, community engagement and education.
Built around the radical agenda of Founding Director and artist Ron Henocq and his belief in the power of inclusion within the arts, CGP London exists to enable all members of the community to fully participate and have open access to contemporary art.
Over the last 35 years the gallery has hosted exhibitions and events by internationally renowned artists including Cornelia Parker, Richard Wilson, Marcus Coates, Ackroyd and Harvey, Grayson Perry, Eduardo Paolozzi, Anne Bean, Patrick Caulfield, Iain Sinclair, Andrew Kötting, Uta Kogelsberger, Tony Bevan, Mark Titchner, Matt Collishaw, Ben Rivers, Huw Locke, Stuart Brisley and Sutapa Biswas.
A film by Hydar Dewachi, commissioned by CGP London to mark the 30th Anniversary of the gallery.
CGP was born in 1984 following The Bermondsey Artists’ Group’s renovation of Southwark Park’s derelict Lido Café building. Since then, CGP London fundraised significant capital support to develop its ‘white cube’ gallery, enabling a major redevelopment to increase accessibility and improve the quality of the exhibition spaces between 1999 and 2001, reopening with an exhibition by Mary Evans.
In 1999 CGP opened its second arts venue, Dilston Grove (situated in the park across the lake from The Gallery).
Southwark Park opened in 1869 and, along with Finsbury Park, is the earliest example of London’s Metropolitan Parks. The first church on this site was opened in 1886 by Clare College Cambridge as part of a university mission in a “spiritually destitute district”. After signs of subsidence in 1909, an appeal fund was started for a new church. The church as it now stands was built in 1911, the very first poured concrete building in England at a cost of £2,718. 16s. 4d. Designed by architects Sir John Simpson and Maxwell Ayrton (who went on to build the original Wembley Stadium), it was described at the time of its opening as ‘the finest modern church in South London’ and is now a Grade II listed building.
The church closed in the early 1960s and was used for some time by a group of students from The Royal College of Art including Richard Wentworth as artist studios in the early 1970s.
With crucial support from Arts Council England, London Borough of Southwark and the Heritage Lottery Fund, CGP transformed this derelict church into a spectacular, cavernous art gallery for large-scale presentations. The building re-opened in May 1999 with the new name of Dilston Grove and the group exhibition Word Enough to Save a Life, Word Enough to Take a Life curated by Simon Morrissey.
In 2010, working with Walther Menteth Architects, Dilston Grove was further renovated with support from English Heritage, BIG Lottery Fund, London Borough of Southwark and The City Bridge Trust, remodelling the former Parish Room to create a new entrance and fully accessible Community Learning and Outreach space. The building’s inaugural exhibition was Mémoire by Sammy Baloji in partnership with Autograph ABP.
CGP London is an arts organisation committed to its local community. Our activity is deep-rooted in Southwark, encouraging our neighbours within the borough to exhibit and engage with an important cultural hub through regular integrated activities and a number of targeted exhibitions that enable a wide range of artists and local residents to participate.
We work in regular partnerships with other local and national organisations, providing free projects which include weekly allotment workshops for families with pre-school children, regular schools visits, BOSCO (A Place for Young People), The Bede Centre, Riverside Parents Group, Rotherhithe Family Centre, Age UK, Autograph ABP, London Bubble Theatre Company and Corali Dance Company.
Our local community also have the opportunity to become exhibitors through our Annual Open exhibition and participation in regular projects that create new work to be exhibited in The Gallery such as schools visits, Seniors Art School and our weekly allotment group for families with pre-school children.
For more information on our Learning and Community Programme click here.