Founded in 1998, Five Years is a practice-led artists’ organisation. Our exhibition spaces and publishing initiatives have provided a platform for collaborative experimentation and radically open, speculative discourse within the London contemporary art scene for over two decades.
From the outset Five Years intention has been to maintain a long-term working context and physical environment guided by principals of organisational co-operation, while supporting the sometimes conflicting drives of creative autonomy, artistic colllaboration, dialogue and the exchange of ideas. Over the course of two decades it has presented over 200 exhibitions and events at 3 primary venues and has involved 29 members, functioning without individual directorship or regular funding, operating in the zones of marginality and precarity. Five Years defines itself as an artists’ organisation rather than an artist-run organisation: its purpose is to facilitate, support and make public its members’ projects and by extension the projects of those artists invited by its members to contribute to the programme - the physical gallery space is a shared resource, a tool rather than a gallery ‘run’ by the artist in the role of curator or director. Five Years intention is not to play a secondary or supportive role to the commercial or established institutional sectors, as a ‘springboard’ for so-called ‘emerging’ artists: it has endeavoured to create an environment where serious experimentation and artistic development can be sustained over long periods of time with relative autonomy.

Since 2016 we have been based in Archway, North London and have been working closely with an affiliated project, the co-operative printmaking and editioning studio Mutton Fist Press who we support through the provision of space.  Mutton Fist runs a year-long residency programme, with a particular focus on supporting artists from low socio-economic backgrounds and those who identify as disabled or living with chronic illness. Artists are also supported through low-fee and flexible access to printmaking equipment via the weekly, open-access workshop.

Jointly Five Years and Mutton Fist Press  have been working on a series of initiatives to nurture creative dialogues with local audiences, while enhancing community engagement through our relationship with Islington Libraries.