As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations this year, Ninja Tune has partnered with Black Dog Publishing to mount a month-long exhibition showcasing the label’s art, design, and photography.
Held at London’s Black Dog Space, “Ninja Tune: 20 Years of Beats + Pieces” brings together a wealth of visual art—posters, drawings, paintings, 3D models, and more—plus assorted objects and curios related to the label’s history (including, for instance, the plaster cast of Roots Manuva’s head pictured on the cover of his album ‘Slime & Reason’). Spread across two rooms, one room is styled as a recreation of the Ninja Tune HQ meeting room, featuring original posters and even the glass cabinet from the cover of ‘Well Deep: Ten Years of Big Dada’—which looks a bit like you might imagine Damien Hirst’s record collection to appear. It’s a fitting tribute to a label whose visual initiatives have been as pioneering as its music.
The exhibition accompanies the release of Black Dog’s Ninja Tune: 20 Years of Beats & Pieces, the latest book in the publisher’s “Labels Unlimited” series, after profiles on Warp and Rough Trade. With exclusive interviews from many of the label’s artists, the lavishly illustrated book, written by UK music journalist Steve Chick, tells the story of how Coldcut‘s Matt Black and Jonathan More combined elements of hip-hop, rave, Jamaican soundsystem culture, and experimental music into one of the UK’s most iconic labels.
Consider the book a preface to the main event: ‘Ninja Tune XX’, a box set of rarities, new music, and exclusive material across six CDs and six 7-inch singles. (Learn more about it here.) Selected tracks will be available across two special digital releases out October 5.
The free exhibition takes place August 20 through September 20 at London’s Black Dog Space (10a Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG). On Saturday, September 11, the space will host a one-day pop-up shop selling Ninja Tune merchandise and music, along with Black Dog Publishing titles, at discounted prices. See their website for more information.