CSKX Studios - History

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A very brief history

CSKX was established in 1990 by the shoe designer Hedi Raikamo and artist LEO after leaving Angel Studios in Islington, created to offer affordable studio spaces in Kings Cross, London. The organisations work developed to include exhibitions, performances, public art projects, fashion shows, commissions and residencies. In 1997 it was registered as a Charity. CSKX was home to performers, musicians, designers, filmmakers, a theatre company, writers and many artists from 1990 to 2001, when the studios were demolished due to the redevelopment of Kings Cross. Theatre de Complicite had their offices there at the start of the 1990s, and the fashion group, Commun, including Fabio Piras, Lars Sture and Hedi Raikamo were based there through this period.

The studio never had a dedicated exhibition space, but exhibitions and events were constant and included: an installation and dance performance by Carolyn Roy; experimental jazz performances; the exhibition, House no Garden; and the last series of events, the Projection Project, where 13 artists created works specifically for the site, including Dan Hays and Gareth Jones - running through the night and throughout the last 12 months of the studios.

The final exhibition, in March 2001, included: Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas, represented by works from the days of The Shop; original drawings for the Teletubbies by Andrew Davenport, which he began to develop at CSKX in the early 1990s; Jane and Louise Wilson who lived around the corner and used the roof as a studio; and installations created specifically for the space, such as the decorative cable work made by Nicky Hirst for the studio entrance in 1992 and Terry Smiths Shifted work, created for the House no Garden exhibition.

Between 2002-2016 CSKX had no dedicated space, remining dormant as a studio space and charity, the founders working in an advisory capacity for other groups and continuing their own design, art and teaching practices. LEO also set up and ran the temporary project space Pugh Pugh in Berlin (2003-4), with a previous member of CSKX, Paul Hopton.

As part of his MA at Goldsmith College (2014-16), LEO began to look at ways to redeploy CSKX as community based arts organisation in Camden, in response to his own experiences of teaching and community work, and the reduction in arts teaching, funding and support in England across schools and community. Through this research the Sense&Memoroy project developed and funding secured from Arts Council England and Tesco/Groundwork. This has enabled the first series of workshops across Camden, working with schools, community organsations, a hospital and a health care centre, returning CSKX as an active creative and community organisation in North London.