About aspex

Aspex is more than a gallery, it’s a space for questions – creating conversations and cultivating connections.


The gallery has always specialised in supporting contemporary artists at an early stage in their career and is a showcase for new work being made at both a local and global level. Its track record dates back 30 years, with a long list of contemporary visual art’s great and good getting an early break thanks to this Portsmouth institution.

Preview of EMERGENCY5 at aspex, October 2011

Established by a group of artists in 1981, Aspex was based in a converted chapel on Southsea’s Brougham Road for 25 years. In 2006 the gallery relocated to the Vulcan Building, a former naval storehouse on the waterfront at Gunwharf Quays. The award-winning conversion of this stunning historic building provides an attractive setting for Aspex’s exhibitions and events as well as a dynamic education programme. Last year the gallery extended its reach onto the waterfront in Gunwharf Quays with the opening of the Lighthouse, a dedicated space for its fun and innovative art workshops for toddlers to teenagers.

Visitors get involved with Working Title, August 2011

This year marks the beginning of a new era for Aspex, one in which it will move away from being a ‘gallery’ in the traditional sense, to a dynamic space for conversations, debate and engagement. Each programme season will start with a question. Aspex will then host a series of exhibitions and events that will focus on encouraging communication around this overarching question. These activities will take place at the Vulcan Building, in the Lighthouse and throughout the city, often in partnership with other arts and cultural organisations.

aspex Craft Space

To kick off 2012, we’re asking: What next for culture in Portsmouth? We want to have a broader exchange of ideas and debate around issues that are important today.  Focusing on a question like this helps us to place contemporary visual art alongside other art forms, popular culture, and broader social or environmental issues. We’ll explore all this through our programme, but what does this question mean to you? We’d like to invite you to come along, see what’s going on, take part, have a chat, some coffee and cake, and help shape our future.

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