The 1990s was a time of economic and social transition in Poland. Following the end of communist rule, the country opened up to the free market and the West. This led to an acceleration in wealth and trade, which naturally had a knock-on effect for many musicians. It was now easier to get hold of musical technology; the sorts of synthesizers and computers that would herald a dynamic shift towards electronic music across all of Europe. Poland, a country with a strong visual arts and graphic design tradition, could now reimagine its aesthetics within the nascent optimism of this new era. Of course, not everyone benefited from the rapid rate of change. Large parts of society felt left behind or threatened by an unknown, ruthless capitalism. The perfect stage was set for Polish rave culture. "140 refers to the number of beats per minute in classic techno music. In fact, this is the tempo that Polish techno pioneer Jacek Sienkiewicz played at throughout the 90s. Underground electronic music dance events – otherwise known as ‘raves’ - sprung up across Poland during this period. Rave culture was undoubtedly catalysed by the economic and social freedoms that emerged during the post-communist transition, yet it also served to critique the creeping privatisation and hierarchisation of society. Artists were especially drawn to this subculture. It provided an immersive environment in which to develop participatory art practices, as well as being a friendly testing ground for novel aesthetics in the absence of supportive public institutions. For Polish ravers, these underground events were an opportunity to experience euphoric escapism and allay material anxieties, if only for 24 hours.
In collaboration with UNIQLO Tate Lates and the Tate Modern, we are pleased to present 140 Beats Per Minute. Rave Culture and Art in 1990s Poland, an evening of art, music and film inspired by 90s Polish rave culture.
Curators: Łukasz Mojsak, Zofia Krawiec, Łukasz Ronduda
Screening will be followed by Q&A with Łukasz Mojsak and Grzegorz Różański. This is a free, ticketed event. Free tickets are available for collection at the Turbine Hall ticket desk from 17:00 on Friday 26 April.