This installation brings together painting, sculpture and photography, and interacts with the dual nature of Concrete, the Hayward Gallery’s day café/night bar.
Representations of the outdoors – in photographs of leaves against a sunlit sky and in a life-size laser copy of Manet’s painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe – contrast with the café’s brutalist interior. The reflective table tops, with their views up into trees, mirror an absent sky, while Manet’s ambiguous picnic scene, with its hidden references to the history of painting, is a distant echo of the interactions and behaviour of today’s café society. A large, unformed block of clay – the raw material of artistic production – becomes both a potential artwork and a reference to the earth.
On the wall opposite the Manet reproduction is a painting on cardboard, reflecting back on the picnic scene. This pinky-red disc suggests an iris or lens, and the colour is reminiscent of that seen through closed eyes in bright sunlight. It also alludes to the red light bulbs in the café ceiling. Typifying atmospheric lighting and associated with both photographic darkrooms and seedy urban areas, in this case red light acts as a counterpoint to the sunlight depicted on the table tops.
The title of this installation, Bar at the Hayward, alludes to another work by Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. In this nineteenth-century painting of modern life, a barmaid looks directly at the viewer, while a mirror behind her reflects the music hall’s clientele.
Assistant Curator, Hayward Gallery
Tabletop images 9@65cm x 65cm 3@135cm x 65cm, painting 147cm diameter, clay 45cmx17cmx15cm
Inkjets on toughened glass, laser print, cardbard with acrylic paint, clay, red lightbulbs