The Design Museum Goes Electronic

As with many events in 2020, it is not only gigs, clubs and raves that have had to be cancelled or postponed, the UK’s museums have had to hold back on exhibitions. But now, after months of lockdown, the Design Museum in London has reopened with its postponed exhibition, ‘Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers’.

As noted by international art magazine, Apollo, electronic music has been around long enough to have matured, and like jazz and rock, gathered enough history to warrant a museum exhibition, which is ironic considering the genre, even as far back as Kraftwerk in 1970, is associated with ‘the future’.

The exhibition opened on 31 July, and Tim Marlow, Chief Executive and Director of the Design Museum said it was “A powerful statement about creative freedom across music, art, technology and design, which will be celebrating what many of us have missed the most during the lockdown; and a reminder that a lot of work is still needed to get vast areas of the cultural sector to open again.”

The original exhibition concept is by the Philharmonie de Paris – Musée de la Musique, exploring the hypnotic world of electronic music, from its origins to its futuristic dreams.

The edition of the exhibition in London features the premiere of electronic music pioneers The Chemical Brothers’ incredible sensory vision by creative studio Smith & Lyall, which includes the hypnotic visuals for the Grammy Award-winning track ‘Got to Keep On’.

The exhibition evokes the experience of being in a club, as it transports visitors through the elements that have been shaping the electronic music landscape, such as art, design, technology, and photography.

Visitors can celebrate 50 years of legendary German pioneers Kraftwerk with their 3D show, or travel to the dance floors of Detroit, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, or the thriving dance music scene in the UK.

There are over 400 objects and the likes of Detroit techno legends Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin, “Godfather of House Music” Frankie Knuckles, Haçienda designer Ben Kelly and the extreme visual world created by Weirdcore for Aphex Twin’s ‘Collapse’.

Visitors to the Design Museum can also indulge their senses with large scale images of rave culture by Andreas Gursky, iconic DJ masks and fashion.

There is a sound reactive visual installation explicitly created for the exhibition by 1024 architecture, graphics from Peter Saville CBE, history-making labels and club nights, as well as posters dedicated to legendary club nights and venues.

Photographs of nightlife evoke memories of the beginnings of the scene, from Tina Paul’s animated yet tender portraits of queer clubbing, or Andreas Gursky’s panoramas of hundreds of ravers, a reminder of the days before social distancing!

The exhibition is all accompanied to a genre-spanning soundtrack from French DJ and music producer Laurent Garnier, who created it specifically for the Design Museum.

‘Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers’ is at the Design Museum, London, until 14 February 2021.

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