RA Lates: Barcelona Modernisme night
Saturday 15 February 2020 7 - 11pm
Royal Academy of Arts
£25 – £75
Join us as we transform the RA and recreate the bohemian nightlife of 1900s Barcelona with cabarets, circus acts, performances and salons.
Become part of the avant-garde art scene as you dance until late at a secret music hall, debate the latest artistic philosophies at our pop-up talks programme, take part in experimental Taverna singalongs and get creative at an avant-garde cabaret.
By the early 20th century, the city's art scene had already been seduced by the ideals of Modernism (or Modernisme); inspiring a new wave of artists and thinkers who embraced progressive ideals.
Industrial buildings along the city's Ravel district were transformed into secret music halls and cabarets, and the newly opened El Paral.lel attracted the new immigrant community to theatres and cafés.
Meanwhile, avant-garde artists frequented the infamous Els Quatre Gats, the city's answer to Paris's Le Chat Noir, for its experimental exhibitions, concerts and salons inspired by Barcelona's urban landscape. It was while living here that the teenage artist Pablo Picasso held his first exhibition when he was 17.
Els Quatre Gats
Workshops and entertainment, 8pm – 11pm
This experimental cabaret and late-night bar, whose activity encompassed exhibition, salons, puppet shows was the city’s answer to Paris’s Le Chat Noir. It also published a journal which encouraged the artistic and literary collaboration characteristic of Modernista activity. The limited exhibition opportunities within established institutions inspired new creative forms of self-promotion for this new generation of artists, and it t was here that the teenage Picasso held his first solo exhibition, which featured charcoal portraits of his artist friends.
We invite you to experience our recreation of Els Quatre Gats, with portrait sketching hosted by artist Gideon Summerfield, with more experiences to be revealed.
Immersive experiences, pop-up bars, dance and choir performances, 7pm - 11pm
Our historic Fine Rooms will be transformed to recreate the night-life haunts of Barcelona's newly opened El Paral·lel avenue.
Opening in 1894, El Paral·lel became the home to the city's emerging entertainment industry of cabarets, music halls and theatres, popular with the city's new immigrant community. By 1900 it had developed the nickname 'Montmartre Barcelones'.
We invite you to stroll through our re-imagined Barcelona avenue to meet and mingle with the city's characters while watching dance performances, cabaret, pop-up choir performances and take part in discussions and singalongs.
Flamenco and Danse Serpentine performances by Lucia Lucidez.
Immersive actors produced by Wilson & Hart.
More to be revealed...
Experimental Modernisme violin performances
“These composer-performers breathe an entirely different air. They no longer feel stifled by incomprehension and commercialism” said Gilbert Chase of the young modernist Catalan composers Enrique Granados and Isaac Albénez.
Inspired by the 1904 recitals in Barcelona of Eugene Ysaÿe (then accompanied by Granados), violinist Eugene Feygelson fuses folk Catalan melodies with the vibrant early 20th century avant-garde improvisational style at a series of powerful solo performances.
15 minute violin performances at 7.30, 8.30, 9.30 and 10.30pm
Circo del Espectáculo
Circus shows from 7.30pm
Barcelona’s underground circus scene was growing in the early 1900s, with performances gaining popularity in the new bars across the city.
Tonight, we invite you to experience a glorious troupe of circus acts from the interactive theatrical production company, Gypsy Disco, who will bring to life the energy, sound and style of bohemian Barcelona.
Starting a new life in a loud, liberated and radical city, a flamboyant family of outlandish dreamers roll into Barcelona bringing with them a flurry of tricks, tales and tantalizing performances. Expect dare devilish entertainment, outlandish behavior and spectacular performances as this glorious group of outliers and misfits take the stage. From hoops, contortionists, burlesque and flamenco this show is not to be missed.
Gypsy Disco present their unique Barcelona-inspired circus show at 7.30, 8.30, 9.30 and 10.15pm (performances last approx. 25 minutes)
3D paper sculpture making, 7.30 - 10.30pm
Play with paper and card to create costumes, props and a cardboard city-scape for two travelling performers, inspired by Picasso’s cubist designs for the Ballets Russes production of Parade.
Cut, fold, crumple, tear, stick and construct cardboard creatures to perform on stage, make hats or headdresses to wear, stars to decorate the Barcelona skyline.
Produced by Originary Arts, a participatory arts company that encourages creativity and play.
Underground party with live band performances from 9pm
This underground party features live band performances by Don Kipper, the multi-award winning ensemble led by the formidable Greek-Serbian singer Dunja Botic.
Don Kipper are inspired by the deeply rooted music traditions of the Balkans and Mediterranean, reinterpreting these sounds with heavy beats and synths, this eclectic fiesta is not to be missed.
Live music performances at 9.15 – 10pm, and 10.15 – 11pm.
Pop-up talks and discussions
Join in a series of pop-up talks from a range of speakers to hear more about Picasso's formative years in Barcelona, the Modernisme art scene and literary circles.
Picasso's teenage vision of Barcelona
Dr Jacqueline Cockburn, Art Historian and lecturer on Spanish art tells the story of Picasso leaving Malaga for Barcelona by boat aged 14 where he became part of the bohemian avant-garde among the writers and philosophers of Els Quatre Gats.
Talks at 7.15 and 8.15pm, last approx. 10 minutes
Barcelona and the performing arts: the popular and the avant garde
Prof. Maria Delgado explores the avant garde initiatives which shaped Spanish theatre in the pre-Civil War years. Popular entertainments of the 1900s later served as a model for the underground club culture that defied the 1939-75 dictatorship. Maria Delgado tells the story of how Barcelona emerged as a dynamic and experimental space for theatre between 1900 and 1936.
Talks at 7.30 and 8.30pm, last approx. 10 minutes
Modernisme and the media: Picasso's periodicals
Dr Rhiannon McGlade explores how the artist-run cabaret, Els Quatre Gats not only catered to the movers and shakers of the Catalan Modernist movement through its exhibitions and salons, but also kept its clientele up to date on the latest artistic talents and happenings in its eponymous journal. This magazine, as well as its sister publications Pèl & Ploma and Forma, provided a platform to Picasso and his contemporaries to air their views through the medium of essays, satirical cartoons and a range of sketches and paintings. Hear more about the literary circles inhabiting Els Quatre Gats at these talks.
Talks at 7.45 and 8.45pm, last approx. 10 minutes
The Paper Café, produced by Goldsmiths
Immersive experience, 8.30pm - 11pm
Post-graduate students at Goldsmiths MA Events and Experience Management present an immersive pop-up café inspired by Picasso's experimentation with everyday objects and exploration of the artistic capabilities of paper.
Step inside a pop-up café that references the many street cafés that proliferated across Barcelona in the early 1900s. Join in art-making experiences alongside paper-costumed performances, with more to be revealed.
Drop in experience, 8.30pm - 11pm
DJ sets and dance performances from 9pm
The second generation of 'Modernista' artists in Barcelona spent their time at cafes and late-night music halls like Eden Concert, which inspired the painting of the same name by Picasso in 1903.
We invite you to an immersive Eden Concert inspired party featuring eclectic DJ sets and pop-up 'Modernisme' dance performances.
Line up includes DJ Philippo will play an eclectic set of Latin and cosmic beats.
Dress code: Modernista artiste vs Picasso reinterpreted
We invite you to chose your tribe and channel the avant-garde artist looks of 1900s Barcelona – colourful ruffles, long dresses and vintage suits or painterly smocks or boiler suits. Think modern long flowing gowns in rebellion to bourgeoisie corsets, incorporate colour, opulent details and go big with accessories. Use headpieces, hats, statement earrings and jewellery to channel the art-nouveau aesthetic of the bohemian Modernistas.
Or, get creative and reinterpret some of Picasso’s famous works in costume. Consider geometric shapes, bold colours and textures to become a living art work. Paint bold Picasso-inspired colours on a white gown or shirt, add a headpiece that references his elaborate ballet costumes or simply use make-up or face-paint to reference your favourite Picasso artwork.
Share photos using #RALates and check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration.
Food and drinks
Enjoy Spanish-inspired food and cocktails from a selection of London's finest traders including:
Plus pop-up cava and sangria bars across the site.
£75 - VIP
Make your Saturday night with us extra special with a VIP ticket which includes:
– Access to all RA Lates curated entertainment, experiences, performances and activities.
– After-hours private view and tour of Picasso and Paper.
– Exclusive access to the RA's private members bar The Academicians' Room where you'll receive a complimentary glass of champagne plus access to a secret DJ set with DJ Kobayashi bringing his lively and eclectic set of Middle Eastern funk and R 'n' B.
– Plus you'll receive a goody bag of gifts from the RA upon arrival.