Taking as his reference Manet’s work Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, Jorge Ribalta took this series of photographs at Barcelona’s Sónar Festival. From its origins in 1994 through to 2012, this ‘Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art’ was held in the surrounds of the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) and MACBA, in the Plaça Joan Coromines and the Plaça dels Àngels. Sur l’herbe was made over four successive years of a festival that has now become a landmark in organized entertainment. The photos were always taken at the same time on Thursday and Friday in order to capture the light: natural light that is at once artificial because the sun is reflected off Richard Meier’s building and onto the people in a singular play of light and shadow.
The series does not show emotion or people having fun but reveals how, in this kind of organized leisure in which the public is part of the performance, resting is not far from working. Sitting on the artificial grass installed for the occasion, the young people evoke a primal scene of modernity or Manet’s well-known scene of relaxing in the Industrial Age.