Performance: Sunday 12 May, 5 – 8pm
Exhibition: Monday 13 – Sunday 19 May
The Art in the Bar programme at Chapter – and Diffusion Festival – prompted curator Mike Tooby to think again about Édouard Manet’s famous painting Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère (1882). The picture shows the reflection of a mysterious man meeting – or not – the gaze of a woman serving drinks. This encounter – and Manet’s interest in photography and modern life – also inspired Jeff Wall’s iconic photographic work Picture for Women (1979) – at the time, an ambitious attempt to relate the artistic and spectatorial demands of the late 1970s to modernist pictorial art.
Audiences are invited to ask the question: “What do I ever know about a worker behind a bar?” and can participate by buying a drink at the opening; or by reconstructing the scene represented through the camera lens.
Mike Tooby is a curator with a career in major venues and museums. He developed Tate St Ives in the 1990s, and led the redisplay of art at National Museum Cardiff, which was completed in 2011. His recent work includes small-scale projects with collaborators, often in their own homes or work settings, low key and occasionally light hearted.