30 years on, British rave scene returns in new exhibition

  • Arts
  • Monday, 15 Jul 2019

Vinca Petersen's photography Bus And Rig (1999). It is part of an immersive retrospective exhibition 'Sweet Harmony: Rave Today', which is devoted to presenting a revolutionary survey of British rave culture through the voices and lenses of those who experienced it. Photo: Vinca Petersen

The thumping beat of Britain's 1980s-1990s acid house scene returns in a new London exhibition looking at the impact of rave music.

Sweet Harmony: Rave Today features installations, party posters and photographs by those who once attended the all-night raves, usually held at secret locations and where deejays played acid house, a blend of electronic dance music and heavy beats that originally developed in the United States.

The immersive experience sees visitors walk through a makeshift petrol station and barbed wire - as if entering a rave in a warehouse - to see the exhibition and listen to music.

"There are so many ways that you can look at this story and we have done it from the raver (point of view)," said Saatchi Gallery director Philippa Adams.

"It was ... a community of people coming together ... celebrating music in a way that was new and was pushing boundaries and has been developing ever since."

Among those whose work is displayed is photographer Adrian Fisk, who snapped pictures of revellers at raves, which police cracked down on after a 1994 change to the British law, as well as shots of protesters at environmental demonstrations.

"In many ways rave from the beginning was a protest against (the Prime Minister Margaret) Thatcher's Britain. It created a society on the dance floor, it was a reaction against the oppression and stiffness and awkwardness of being British," said Fisk.

"It allowed people to be themselves and express themselves in a way that had never been witnessed before."

The exhibition runs at London's Saatchi Gallery from Friday until Sept 14. - Reuters

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