7 February - 3 March 2019
Selfridges celebrates the advent of Valentine’s Day like never before: by opening a Golden Gai bar from which a maximum of 6 people can be served beer and Sake at any given time. Possibly the smallest bar in Britain during its four-week run at Selfridges on Oxford Street, the Lip Bar is the creation of legendary Japanese artist Daido Moriyama who is best known for his gritty black and white photography of Japan and its city people.
The 2 metres by 3.3 metres Daido Lip Bar, presented at Selfridges by special arrangement with Hamiltons Gallery, is first and foremost an art installation that is designed to be functional but can also be bought. A tribute to the tiny bars of Golden Gai, an authentic quarter in Shinjuku, a vibrant district of Tokyo, the Lip Bar replicates Bar Kuro, one of Daido’s favourite drinking spots. The Lip Bar comes in a limited edition of only three and the Selfridges installation will be the last – and longest – time Daido’s Lip Bar can be experienced. The Lip Bar, which takes its name from a close-up lip shot by Daido plastered on all surfaces of the bar in red and black versions of the now iconic photograph, will welcome customers from 7 February to 3 March. They can book their £10 seat in advance via the Selfridges.com website (slfrd.gs/DaidoLipBar) for 30mn at a time. The price includes entrance fee and the choice of a beer or a cup of sake. Walk-ins will be managed on a first come first served basis against the availability at the time of asking. Singletons are encouraged to book on their own or with one other single friend to maximise the opportunity to meet new people in an unusually small space. Limited edition merchandise, including hoodies and t-shirts bearing the lip motif will be available to buy from the temporary Art Store at Selfridges in London and online as a memento of the visit.
Hamiltons’ “Lip Bar” installation at Selfridges replicates Bar Kuro, a small bar located in Shinjuku. Moriyama frequented the small bar for many years and was therefore familiar with the style of the venue and its owner “Mama” (a term used in Japan for female owners of this kind of minute bar; male owners are called “Master”). Mama is an eccentric lady who has an unusual way of treating her customers –not politely or as cordially as one might expect from a host. Her personality and unique approach to hospitality became very much a part of the experience at the bar and attracts many visitors, particularly an artistic crowd, such as film directors, novelists and critics. Mama herself is also a contemporary artist, and she organized a local festival in 1999 with other bars in the district called “GAW” (Goldengai Art Waves) and invited artists and performers to display their work. This festival became a local success - its 8th edition in 2013 is the most recent. In September 2005, Mama asked Moriyama to attend and take part and it was on this occasion that he chose to cover her bar with his lip image (he had previously decorated Bar Kuro with his eye image in 1999) and the Lip Bar was created. Bar Kuro, right at the heart of Shinjuku Goldengai, was the ideal venue for Moriyama’s installation.
All bookings to the Lip Bar are via the Selfridges website: www.selfridges.com/daido-lip-bar