The Art of Raving

Saatchi's exhibition on rave culture brings the dank underground to London

Installation View, Project Zoltar, Justin Piperger, 2019 (Courtesy Saatchi Gallery, London)

London‘s Saatchi Gallery is bringing PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect) to the art world with a new exhibition on rave music, the spaces it flourished in, and the subcultures that surrounded it.

warehouse rave as seen through square mullions

Seana Gavin, New Years Day, Barcelona (2000) (Courtesy Saatchi Gallery, London)

Through visuals and audio immersion, Sweet Harmony tries to capture the zeitgeist of rave culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where youths ate ecstasy in old factoriesm warehouses, and underground cellars and danced to the squelchy sounds of machine music. Curator Kobi Prempeh, alongside Saatchi Gallery Director Philly Adams, tapped more than 30 mostly European artists associated with the scene to present photos, video, oral history and classics from regional genres.

Bus with sick sound system out front

Vinca Petersen, Bus And Rig from ‘No System’ (1999) (Courtesy Saatchi Gallery, London)

House and techno, the two electronic music subcategories most closely associated with raving, were born in the U.S. Midwest in the 1980s but gained mega popularity throughout Europe. Photos by the likes of the late Shaun Bloodworth, a music photographer who documented the UK rave scene, Vinca Petersen, who published a book of rave photos with Gerhard Steidl, and Spiral Tribe’s free party maven/collage artist Seana Gavin capture the wild energy of a youthful subculture that’s undergoing a second flourishing today.

Exhibits will be accompanied by playlists of regional genres—Detroit techno, grime, UK garage.

In adjacent Gallery 10, the curators will display commissioned artwork and sound installations from mechanical sculptor Conrad Shawcross and psychedelic London artist Weirdcore, and others.

Sweet Harmony runs through September 14, and admission is $12.50. More information on tickets and hours of operation can be found here.

View this post on Instagram

🚨 🙃 Now open! Our new exhibition SWEET HARMONY: RAVE |TODAY ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🎫 Tickets: sweetharmony.saatchigallery.com 🎉 Open 10am-6pm everyday until 14 Sept. Please check our website on day of visit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔊 An immersive exhibition that celebrates the birth of dance music and the impact of rave on youth culture today. Sweet Harmony is a creative reminder of a special moment in recent British history that will recapture memories from the acid house scene, reliving the transformative powers of music through the voices and the lenses of those who experienced it. Featuring multimedia installations and artworks by some of rave movement’s most prolific and authentic visual commentators, Sweet Harmony brings together contributors from past and present. #SWEETHARMONY #RAVETODAY #EXHIBITION #SAATCHIGALLERY Kindly supported by: @roland_uk @spotify @jack__arts @sciarc @dazed @pioneerdjglobal @lathebestsound @villageunderground

A post shared by Saatchi Gallery (@saatchi_gallery) on

Related Stories