Jeremy Deller

Valerie’s Snack Bar, 2009, Replica cafe, 274 x 366 x 610 cm
Replica cafe, 18 banners, film screened on TV
Dimensions Variable

‘I like what has happened in Manchester — historically, politically, musically — and I’ve always enjoyed being there, so when I was asked to make a public artwork for Manchester International Festival in 2009, I assembled a procession of the city’s people and their activities. It was mostly a celebration of public space and the people occupying it: buskers, smokers, car modifiers, The Big Issue sellers and so on. One of the elements was Valerie’s Snack Bar, this café in Bury Market, which just seemed to be a great gathering place for OAPs, the snack bar was almost exactly replicated and put on the back of a lorry and taken for a spin. As with any procession, there are lots of contradictory elements: some are traditional, others are contemporary or even futuristic. I wanted in a way to try and make something a bit like a procession you would see on The Simpsons, a sort of social surrealist event full of bizarre, funny, wrong-seeming things.’

Jeremy Deller