Staying There: Ho­tels in Art

Art Press - - VIE MODERNE -

So­mew­hat like train sta­tions and air­ports, hotel rooms and lob­bies are emo­tio­nal­ly sa­tu­ra­ted in our con­tem­po­ra­ry ima­gi­na­tion. They ap­pear of­ten in mo­vies, but not so much in the fine arts. Ba­sed on a sub­jec­tive selection, our contri­bu­tor Do­ro­thée Dey­ries-Hen­ry muses on the fee­ling of being el­sew­here ins­pi­red by some unu­sual and sti­mu­la­ting art­works.

ima­gine our­selves in his place, and, if dis­trac­ted en­ough, let the image make us float away as well. Ho­tels are ge­ne­ral­ly sy­no­ny­mous with tra­vel, which is cer­tain­ly what this pho­to conveys as the floa­ting bed car­ries us away. In art his­to­ry, the fi­gure of the hotel is dou­bly exo­tic. It is rare as a sub­ject, and it pro­vides an ideal si­tua­tion for the ima­gi­na­tion. There were on­ly a few re­pre­sen­ta­tions of ho­tels be­fore the end of the ni­ne­teenth cen­tu­ry, when such es­ta­blish­ments be­came more com­mon.(1) One could even think that ho­tels are not a sub­ject in pain­ting, since as a sym­bo­lic site they have been all but com­ple­te­ly ap­pro­pria­ted by the mo­vies, whose plots of­ten in­volve a flo­phouse, or­di­na­ry hotel or pa­lace

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