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Frieze features Kate Dunn 'The Tabernacle' as top shows for London Gallery Weekend

by Allyssia Alleyne

Inspired by the concept of collective effervescence – a term coined by 20th century sociologist Émile Durkheim to describe the state of group euphoria achieved in moments of social union – Kate Dunn has combined elements of the chapel, the nightclub and the gallery for her debut installation, The Tabernacle – Welcome to Pharmakon (2021), at TJ Boulting. In the works on view, UV-reactive paint is boldly brushed and splattered across arch-shaped canvases like psychedelic stained glass, taking on new appearances as the lighting changes from standard bulbs to UV to darkness over the course of seven minutes – all to a pounding soundtrack by Shoobz Darg. Dunn says she first discovered gabber – the aggressive and divisive high-BPM strain of techno – while developing the show and found herself drawn not only to its ‘harsh, loud and distorted’ sound, but also to the way that its fans ‘seemed not to escape their bodies, but to expand or explode them’ on nights out, pushing themselves past the point of exhaustion in order to keep up with the music’s unrelenting pace. This ties into the artist’s vision of the rave as a quasi-religious space of transcendence which contains, as the philosophical concept of ‘pharmakon’ proposes, both toxic and curative properties.

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