Art in the Bar
Robert Kennedy
Fri 15 Mar – Sun 28 Apr 2013

Art In The Bar - Chapter, 2013

‘Beer Street’ celebrates the virtues of the mildly intoxicating traditional national drink. Beer
inspires artists and refreshes tradesmen and labourers. It can be drunk safely on rooftops - James
Towneley (1714–1778)

Location and collaboration are central to the work of Robert Kennedy, incorporating diary-
like elements and marking time through practice.
Governed by his environment; the work he produces is less about statements and more a
loose archaeology of situation.

In this recent body of work, Kennedy recalls a scene from William Hogarth’s print Beer Street
(1751), originally produced as part of a campaign directed against gin drinking amongst the
poor. Beer Street celebrated the ‘virtues’ of England’s traditional national drink and pitched
this against ‘the careless inebriation’ inspired by excessive gin consumption. In the print, a
ragged artist, hooked on gin, paints a pub sign for money, habitually inserting the source of
his addiction into the sign in the form of a gin cup rather than a beer tankard.

Kennedy, who himself has worked as a sign writer for many years, applies the same detail to
produce rich, gilded glass works. This site-responsive exhibition weaves together a number
of these processes and strands of pre-occupation - blurring the boundaries between life, art
and work.

The designs, hanging like horse-brass trophy ornaments in the bar, are derived from drinking
detritus and the resultant delicate works echo old-style pub mirrors. Reflection, attraction
and brittleness are recurring themes in Kennedy’s practice and this new exhibition raises a
variety of questions relating to value, time and the human condition.

Robert Kennedy has worked as a Cardiff based sculptor since 1984. Kennedy last exhibited
a complete set of works at Chapter in 1988 with ‘The Memorial: Laughing In The Face Of
Death’. That same year he began working at Chapter as a film projectionist - and continues
to do so. For the last 18 months, Robert has been working on the city centre Arcadecardiff
project in Queen’s Arcade. For more information visit

Admiral Hoarding workshop project
Faye Chamberlain & Robert Kennedy
Plus 62 Admiral Insurance staff.

Admiral Hoardings

Work with paint and gold-leaf on glass 

Recent works

Food Drink and Shelter