TWIN LOVES: Seana Gavin – a decade of free parties (eclipse theme)

08.04.2024 | Art , Culture | BY:

Portrait of Seana Gavin. Mother Free Festival, Lincoln 1994.
Spiral Baby (1994) © Copyright Seana Gavin

On this solar eclipse in Aries, we celebrate Seana Gavin’s archive that serendipidously includes the eclipse free festival, photographed by Gavin below.

A group of friends wear protective glasses at the eclipse free festival. Hungary 1999
Build up to the Solar Eclipse (1999) © Copyright Seana Gavin

Following on from her phenomenally successful book “Spiralled” published by Idea Books, the artist and former raver opens her new exhibition Hidden Tracks at Gallery 46. This exhibition continues her exploration of the legacy of sound systems that put on illegal raves in the UK and across Europe in the nineties, and acts as a document of the creativity, vitality and community of the underground party scene in which Gavin features heavily. From 1993-2003 she spent long periods of time travelling in friends’ mobile homes, in convoy with the sound systems, living in nomadic communities, attending raves and parties in France, Spain, Holland, Italy, Berlin, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.

“It was more than just a night out. I wasn’t a photographer or journalist I was part of this world and these people were my family. We were un-materialistic and survived with minimal funds without limitations.” – Seana Gavin

Whilst the book is aesthetically and nostaligically pleaseing, it also serves as a reminder about the radical potential and rebellious energy of the free party movement, which emerged as a rebellion against the over commercialization of Acid House that had developed in the UK at the time.

Even today we are left with the legislation that became ‘The Criminal Justice Act’, catalysed by the police response to Castlemorton festival – a week long free unlicensed rave which took place in the British countryside and was shut down by the police. As an underage teenager the artist’s adventurous spirit led her to other like minded wanderers as news spread before mobiles and the internet, and 20- 50,000 people came together by word of mouth alone.

Behind the decks of Hekate Sound system. Czech Teknival (free festival), 1999
Legs (1999) © Copyright Seana Gavin

The exhibition which opens this week, includes Gavin’s personal documentation including flyers, ephemera, diary entries and a large body of photographs that capture the build-up and aftermath of the raves across Europe alongside the characters and friends who defined this scene, and demonstrates the ethos and spitit of community and freedom.

Exhibition runs  10 – 28 April 2024

Gallery46, 46 Ashfield St, London E1 2AJ

Tags: , , , , ,

Seana Gavin X Super/Collider

07.03.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

Artist Seana Gavin has rummaged in the super/collider’s library of vintage science books and world encyclopaedias to create surreal collages of imagined landscapes.

Inspired by a mutual love of old educational materials, each collage draws on anthropology, space exploration, mineralogy, botany and astronomy – transforming hard science into a series of otherworldly scenes that are both playful and slightly unsettling, existing outside of any recognisable time or place.


The three new prints follows on from Gavin’s ‘Cosmic Worlds’ series in 2011, which similarly depicted otherworldly scenarios.

The triptych – Planetoid Life, Time Traveller and Liberty Sunset – are available to buy on super/collider now.


Tags: , ,

End Times By Seana Gavin

10.07.2014 | Art | BY:

Seana Gavin’s latest exhibition creates a space where past, future and parallel worlds collide. End Times showcases collages where everything that has been and will be all co-exist in the present moment. The imagery and symbolism of ancient civilisations and tribal cultures allow her work to explore the relationship between the past and a concept of the future.

Gavin, a  BA Visual Arts graduate, has had solo shows at the concept store 3939 and The B Store on Saville Row. Her artworks themselves have been published in many art and culture magazines including Twin.

End Times opens today and will be shown until the 23rd of July at Celestine Eleven.

Tags: ,

The Venice Biennale

07.06.2013 | Art , Blog | BY:

Artist and previous interviewee Seana Gavin headed down to the annual arts mecca The Venice Biennale this week. In the following piece, Gavin handpicks her top ten pieces from the event exclusively for Twin…

I am only just recovering from a very full week spent at The Venice Biennale. It is my third time there and its always a great experience, but this year I really connected to the work on a more personal level.

In Il Palazzo Enciclopedico in the main Giardini there was a very obvious spiritual theme, with lots of cosmic, supernatural, scientific and nature over tones which I found really inspiring and relates to some of the subjects in my own art work. Here is some of the work that I especially connected with:

Carl Gustav Jung, ‘The Red Book’ in II Palazzo Enciclopedico

Jung experienced visions, visual fantasies and premonition dreams from a young age. In 1913 he thought he was going insane after having very intense apocalyptic visions, which he soon realised were omens of the horror of 2nd World War. He began to fill notebooks with detailed descriptions of his dreams and visions which then became the ‘The Red Book’. I loved the way the pages from the book were displayed in a round shaped room – it reminded me of a scene from film ‘The Holy Mountain’ by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Shary Boyle, Canada Pavilion

This was one of my favourite pavilions. The room was blacked out. Inspired by the moon, the only light was a subtle glow highlighting revolving moon-related sculptures. The main piece was a 3D set, containing white figures in a landscape with collage imagery projected on to it. It would flash between the white figures with a moon-like glow and the collage projected version.

Jakub Julian Ziolkowski in II Palazzo Enciclopedico

He created a series of paintings including imaginary beings, hybrid and mythological creatures. I particularly liked ‘The Sleep of Reason’ depicting a bodily and grotesque hellish landscape.

Roger Caillois’ stone collection in Il Palazzo Enciclopedico

He was a poet and theorist heavily involved in the Surrealist movement. He praised how stones appear to depict landscapes and commented on their beautiful patterning. Here his personal, well chosen stone collection was displayed in glass cases. As someone who has collected stones and crystals since I was 5, I really appreciated it and enjoyed examining his collection.

Shinro Ohtake in Il Palazzo Enciclopedico

There is a whole room full of Ohtake’s scrapbooks displayed in cases. They are held open to view random pages of his mixed media collage images responding to mass media and contemporary urban life. I love the layering and looseness of his approach.

Ryan Trecartin, Il Palazzo Enciclopedico

He creates weird uncomfortable alternative realities in video form, inspired by game shows, reality TV and talk shows featuring transgender characters and Spring Break-like American teenagers. The digital effects, bright coloured face paints and exaggerated personas create a strong flavour of a bad acid trip. Here he has collaborated with Lizzie Fitch and other artists to create sets around the viewing space that expands the environments from the videos. You feel as if you are emerged into the films.

Bedwyr Williams, ‘The Starry Messenger’, Wales in Venice

He created a series of rooms relating to the exploration of infinity and minute space. I was blown away by the video piece which took you through a journey like a string of consciousness – going from the details of the granite marble flooring beneath your feet to the galaxy in the sky.

Museo Fortuny

Axel Veervordt curated the exhibition this year in this amazing space. It consisted of Tapies’ personal art collection along with some of his own works. It is so inspiringly put together. Often the architecture becomes part of the work – as with these pieces the crumbly walls where the work is hung seems to fuse into the paintings.

Palazzo Peckham

This space was created by a group of south London based creatives. Artists including Jon Rafman, Rob Chavasse, Samara Scott and Viktor Timofeev were commissioned to create the interior. The palazzo included a bar and an internet lounge and became a hub for Londoners in Venice. Throughout the week they hosted a series of events and served a lot of aperol spritz!

Jeremy Deller, English Magic at the British Pavilion

The whole pavilion contained several works all connecting to British culture and history. One wall showed a display of Neolithic hand axes dating 4,000 BCE all found along the Thames. In a corner of the room there was a stand where you were invited to hold 2 of the axe heads carved from stone while being told the history of the objects made by pre-humans! In another interactive area you could make your own DIY Jeremy Deller print to take home. But equally worth mentioning was the seriously fun after Party which the Brits do so well – which included a spontaneous naked male dancing as the steel band played British classics such as Voodoo Ray.


Words and images by Seana Gavin

Tags: ,

Cosmic Collages

17.10.2011 | Art , Blog | BY:

With Frieze Art Fair having turned London into a kaleidoscope of visionary talents, the timing could not have been more ripe for Seana Gavin’s Alternate Dimensions exhibition at the b Store.

The artist will be showing exactly what makes her space psychedelia work so magnetic. The exhibit will include a three-dimensional collage window installation and otherworldly landscape pieces such as Lost In Space.

Gavin, for whom dreams, science fiction and her upbringing in Woodstock, NY all act as inspirations, has previously exhibited her pieces alongside the likes of Tracey Emin, Mark Titchner, and Jake and Dinos Chapman.

A graduate from the Camberwell College of Art, she explores different states of consciousness in her work, in reaction to the imagery overload and visual noise that constitute our modern-day world.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Gavin’s work so compelling: is it the full spectral range of colour, the seemingly unconnected elements that are blended into one cohesive image or the fact that her collages transport its viewer into another dimension?

The definite explanation of its attraction may still be up in space, but it’s clear that the only worthy  way to experience Seana Gavin’s work is up close and personal.

Alternate Dimensions is at b Store, 24a Savile Row, W1S 3PR until 5 November.

Tags: , , , , ,

Join the mailing list