Press release for forthcoming show | Mario Dubsky: Xeno Factor

Please find information below (and attached) for our upcoming exhibition in September, 2017. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries.




Mario Dubsky: Xeno Factor


Private view: Tuesday 26
September, 6-8.30pm

continues: 27 September – 27 October 2017

Dubsky, Dreamer, charcoal on paper,
1975. Image courtesy of Anthony Duschell

September CHELSEA space will present
an exhibition of paintings and drawings by the influential artist and educator Mario Dubsky (1939-1985). Including
material from all the phases of his working life, the show will explore his
quest for a powerful visual language with which to express his ideas as a
gay man and artist.


Dubsky described himself as
‘zeitgeist’— a spirit of his time. Born in London just before the outbreak of
the Second World War, his parents were newly arrived refugees from Vienna, with
roots in both Slavic and Jewish heritage. Reflecting his entangled cultural
background (in addition he and his parents were baptized), his early paintings
were dark, heavily wrought, expressionistic and haunted by images of the
Holocaust, Hiroshima and Guernica.

at the Slade School, Dubsky fell under the influence of the late work of David
Bomberg through his friendship with the mature student, Dorothy Mead. His
studies were further broadened by travel in Greece and Italy, where he added
the classical and mythological Mediterranean into his lexicon. With further
travels through Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascas, Palmyra and Jerusalem, Dubsky
interwove the Jewish, Arab, Christian, Greek and Roman worlds into his creative
imagination and personal mythology.


his own identity as a homosexual, Dubsky found his subjective approach to art
making at odds with the dominant idioms of abstraction and Pop Art. It was only
when he moved to New York at the end of the sixties that Dubsky would engage
with the emergent gay rights movement that was exposing inequality through the
Stonewall Riots against anti-gay legislation. This movement stood alongside the
continuing Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam protests that exposed the
divisions within life and politics in the US.  Deeply affected, Dubsky made a large
photomontage mural for the Gay Activists Alliance building in Soho, New York in
1971, and these experiences would affect the path his practice took for the
rest of his life.


the mid 1970s, moving between New York, where he attended life drawing classes
at the Studio School and London, where he taught at Camberwell School of Arts
and Crafts, Dubsky immersed himself in drawing — inspiring a willing group of
students (including CHELSEA space Director, Donald Smith and co-curator David
Ferry) with his energy and intensity. 
Drawings of the male figure he made at this time were not merely
anatomical studies, they were declarations — poetic, political, erotic,
metaphorical and allegorical. Responding to the blasphemy charges brought
against the underground magazine Gay News
in 1977, for the publication of a poem concerning a homosexual Roman
Centurion’s love for Christ at the crucifixion, Dubsky produced a book of poems
and drawings entitled Tom Pilgrim’s
Progress Through the Consequences of Christianity
(1981). These works again confirmed his
commitment to publicly declaring his resistance to sexual and political
suppression (of any kind), through his art making.


to the point of being described as obtuse and antagonistic, Dubsky’s candid
declaration of his sexuality combined with the complexities of his background,
often left him excluded from the art world of the time. Again, drawing on these
experiences informed the title for his solo show at the South London Art
Gallery (now South London Gallery) in 1984. The title, X Factor, a reference to the Greek form xeno, meaning ‘stranger’ or
‘unknown quantity’, was to become a poignant statement, as sadly the artist was
to die a year later of an AIDS related illness.



Mario Dubsky: Xeno Factor is curated by Donald Smith with David Ferry. Works in
the exhibition are courtesy of the collections of Anthony Duschell, Mark Golder and David







As with each exhibition at CHELSEA space, a new illustrated
publication will accompany the show.


Press Information

For further information, images or to discuss
interviews please contact:

Karen Di Franco or Cherie Silver at CHELSEA space
via email or tel:020 7514 6983


Notes to Editors

Images and further information are available upon

About: CHELSEA space is a public exhibiting
space, sited on the Millbank campus of Chelsea College of Arts, where invited
art and design professionals are encouraged to work on experimental curatorial
projects. See:

·       In copy please refer to CHELSEA
and not ‘The Chelsea space.’

Gallery opening times: Wed - Fri: 11:00 –
17:00 and by appointment.

Private view: Tuesday 26 September 2017,

Admission Free

Chelsea College of Arts is one of the world’s
leading art and design institutions.

at Millbank, next door to Tate Britain, Chelsea specialises in Fine Art,
Graphic Design and Interior and Textiles Design. Since its origins in the 19th
century, the College has
many of the greatest names in the arts, including: Quentin Blake (illustrator
and author) Ralph Fiennes (film and stage actor), Anish Kapoor (sculptor),
Steve McQueen (artist),
Chris Ofili (artist),
Alan Rickman (film and stage actor), Alexei Sayle (comedian) and Gavin Turk


Operating at the heart of the world’s
creative capital, University of the Arts London is a vibrant
international centre for innovative teaching and research in arts, design,
fashion, communication and the performing arts. The University is made up of
six Colleges: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins College of Arts
and Design, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London
College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art. Renowned names in the cultural
and creative sectors produced by the University include 12 Turner prize winners
and over half of all nominees, 10 out of 17 fashion designers named British
Designer of the Year, more than half of the designers showcased in London
Fashion Week and 12 out of 30 winners of the Jerwood Photography Award.


Karen Di Franco (Tuesday, Wednesday) & Cherie Silver (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) 

Chelsea College of Arts
16 John Islip Street London SW1P 4JU

Tel: 0207 514 6983

Exhibition opening hours: Wed – Fri: 11:00 – 17:00, or by appointment.