A Horror Exhibition Exploring 50 Years Of Creative Rebellion Is Hitting Somerset House

The wonderful bank holiday weekend (miss you already) has scarcely just let out its last breath, but you’ve probably seen us shamelessly harping on about Christmas things through this week. Terrifying how quick the subject can change isn’t it?

Well, you’re probably used to that by now, but something that will be aiming to scare is the exhibition arriving for Halloween at Somerset House next month.

Image: © Paweł Ogrodzki

The Horror Show! A Twisted Tale Of Modern Britain, running from October 27 – February 19, 2023, delves into the last 50 years of creative rebellion and ideas rooted in horror, with over 200 artworks to cast your eyes on – each exploring horror as a reaction to the times the country has lived through.

From the punk boom in the 70s to modern ideas of witchcraft, The Horror Show presents a chamber of spooky views on the nation through provocative art, both hoping to subvert and make sense of the world facing us.

Image: Ray Stevenson

Fans of all things scary will delight at the fact that the exhibition is split into three different acts of psyches: Monster, Ghost, and Witch.

Monster kicks things off by plunging into the economic and political unrest during the ’70s before leading us on an origin tale of the monsters in society today. Expect to see photographer Derek Ridgers night-time snaps of a cultural rebellion; Noel Fielding’s Post-Viral Fatigue (2022) exploring how horror visuals resonate in a world dealing with the aftermath of Covid-19; and much more, all set within a mural by Matilda Moors showing a monster’s hand scraping at the walls.

Image: Jeremy Millar

Next, we have Ghost, which tracks society from the overblown world of the 80s leading all the way up until the 2008 financial crisis. Visitors can see Derek Jarman’s final opus Blue (1993) which documents and narrates his final days before his death from an AIDS-related illness in a single shot feature film. A sound installation from Nick Ryan also examines the rise of trance music and the role of the visitors as spectators and ghosts in the machine.

Focusing on the post-financial crash period until the present day, Witch celebrates the emergence of an ultra-connected younger generation, with work including Linder’s The Goddess Who Has The Sky As Hair (2019) depicting body autonomy and an ecological form of magic. Look out for Tai Shani’s The Neon Hieroglyph (2021) the sculpture that takes inspiration from the true story of the Maiara, flying witches celebrated on the Italian island of Alicudi. It’s the first time the artwork has been shown in the UK and comes alongside a Gazelle Twin audio installation commissioned for exhibition.

Image: Juno Calypso

Visitors will be guided through The Horror Show by a soundtrack designed to invoke the spirit of the times, featuring numbers from Bauhaus, Barry Adamson and Mica Levi. Special talks and events at The Horror Show are also in the works, with plans set to be announced at a later date.

The Horror Show is co-created by BAFTA- nominated filmmakers and Somerset House resident artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard and the venue’s senior curator Claire Catteral.

It’s a safe bet that it’ll be rammed in the leadup to Hallows Eve, but luckily, you’ll have plenty of time to catch it after that. Get your tickets here!

The Horror Show! A Twisted Tale Of Modern Britain runs from October 27 – February 19, 2023. Find out more information here.