Ryan Callanan aka RYCA
“DANCE ACID RAVE!”
8th – 18th November 2018
BSMT Space (see photo below)
5D STOKE NEWINGTON ROAD
LONDON N16 8BH
There is a canon of legendary musical events where the number of people claiming to have been there far exceeds a venue’s capacity, oft quoted is the Sex Pistol’s first Manchester gig (wasn’t there). In the UK, many many people, apart from me, can genuinely claim to have indulged in the acid rave scene and not just the crusty travellers whose fondness for a music driven drug influenced lifestyle earned them a special law, the 1992 Criminal Justice Act prohibiting assembly for the consumption of loud repetitive beats.
Dropping MDMA (not me!) didn’t stop, wearing silly bright colours and waving glowsticks (not me) kind of did but the sounds and aesthetics of the so-called second summer of love and the post rave club culture are still easily recognised. In the UK, the acid smiley became iconic and inseparable from rave culture after its appearance on flyers, in contrast to the US where it had late 60s hippy connotations.
A passion for beats, dance and declarations of love for complete strangers as well as a tendency to get in the broadsheets for people shitting in posh gardens close to rave venues (not me) made raves an obvious target for heavy policing, while protests against the ensuing Criminal Justice Bill led to conflict with police.
There is only one way you can launch a new show with the title Dance Acid Rave, or perhaps there are three. RYCA’s opening night was basically a rave with some glorious sounds and it involved dancing, I can’t speak to the third element.
It’s all about the mood that was created that night, the music was loud, there was the requisite frantic weaving of wrists and elbows and there was great feeling played out in front of a crazy collage of acid yellow art.
It’s a whole load of yellow and shitloads of pop art going on in RYCA’s canvasses, always has been. The two combine beautifully in the acid soup can Warholian references and its fun to see Van Gogh’s sunflowers get made over as acid smiley flowers.
Star Wars as religion is a recurring RYCA theme, the challenge of the BSMT Alcove has been met by creating a zoned off trooper crucification with a charnel house of beheaded troopers forming a glowing heap below the cross.
Acid yellow resin coated star wars figures on crosses and in sculpture are not in short supply.
RYCA has been known for years for the quality of his craftsmanship, in particular his signage (see Pure Evil Gallery and StolenSpace signs) so you do need to look past light cultural references and the humour in the pieces to see the quality. It is particularly evident in the finish of the blister pack toys and the embossed prints
Most art openings derive their vibe from the chit chat and conviviality on the pavement outside with the art on the walls often just getting a perfunctory eyeball while hunting out the bar. For the second show running, after DScreet’s live rock, rhythm and blues based opening last month, BSMT has staged a show where RYCA has pulled off a neat trick in using live music, disco fog and acid smileys to make the opening an “event”. Bangin’. Sorted. Nice one fellah!
BSMT Space website
All photos by Dave Stuart