Daido Moriyama’s art bar hits Selfridges

The Japanese photographer’s pop-up installation brings a taste of underground Tokyo to London

Daido Moriyama’s pop-up Lip Bar has been installed in the corner of Selfridges’ Duke Street window where guests can enjoy sake and other beverages
Daido Moriyama’s pop-up Lip Bar has been installed in the corner of Selfridges’ Duke Street window where guests can enjoy sake and other beverages

Selfridges is transforming its London store into a hub of contemporary art, filled with workshops, performances, tours and artworks for its new State of the Arts campaign, which sees it unite with leading galleries to stage works in “unexpected and accessible places”. Several “artist interventions” are planned during the event, which runs until the end of March, and one of the biggest comes from iconic Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, who has installed a pop-up bar in the corner of the Duke Street window. From this week, visitors can book a £10 seat at the installation in one-hour slots to enjoy a taste of underground Tokyo.

The tiny bar replicates the photographer’s favourite drinking hole in Tokyo’s gritty Shinjuku area
The tiny bar replicates the photographer’s favourite drinking hole in Tokyo’s gritty Shinjuku area

The bar, which will remain open until March 3, is a replica of one of the artist’s favourite Tokyo drinking holes – Bar Kuro aka The Lip Bar. “Its mama [a term used in Japan for female owners of these minute hangouts] is an artist herself, and the venue has attracted a creative crowd for many years,” says Moriyama. The original bar is based in Golden Gai in Tokyo’s notorious Shinjuku, an area he has been photographing for decades in his signature monochrome style.

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Moriyama’s London representative Hamiltons Gallery, which exhibited his work at Photo London last year, joined up with Selfridges to create the 3D space. “I think Golden Gai in Shinjuku is a dirty and fascinating area that is rarely seen by the world,” Moriyama enthuses. “It will be very exciting to see one of its small bars appear in the window of a prestigious department store in London. I don’t know whether it will be accepted or rejected, but I imagine that it might have some impact on the audience either way.” The artist’s love of London is an extension of his wider fascination with urban space and desire. “Any city where people are gathered and desires swirl can attract me,” he says.  

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This is not the first time that the prolific photographer, who has exhibited at Tate Modern, SFMOMA and the Fondation Cartier, has made a 3D sculptural space. “I want to give the audience impact, and an installation is one way to do this. I don’t like exhibitions that show framed prints in the normal way,” says Moriyama. “You can create an environment with wallpaper using photos taken by me, or print the image on to a T-shirt, for example. There is absolutely no need for it to be a gelatin-silver print.”

The Daido Lip Bar is for sale (priced £80,000), and several limited edition prints of Moriyama’s Lips series (priced from £60,000) can also be purchased via Hamiltons.

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