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A room of their own:
artists in residence

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Mag Artists In Residence Header X2
  • Words Vidula Kotian
  • Date 19 Aug, 2020

Since the 1900s, artist-in-residency programs have provided space to creative thinkers seeking solitude and inspiration.

In Germany, the artists’ colony at Worpswede, a small village near Bremen, was founded in 1889 by creatives such as Heinrich Vogeler and Rainer Maria Rilke, among others. Over time, the settings for such programs shifted from idyllic pastures to remote locations, including distinctly urban topographies such as scrapyardsmoving trainsthe tower of a bridge that crosses a shipping canal, and even commercial cargo ships. More than a century after Claude Monet painted views of the river Thames from a balcony at The Savoy in London, artists of all persuasions are also being invited to hotels.

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Painting by Calabash Thomas

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Artist John Fitzgerald Thomas aka Calabash Thomas

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Local artists on display at the Sculpture Garden

Laluna
Grenada

Laluna is Grenada’s big secret, surrounded by emerald hills, crystal waters, and leafy bougainvillea-filled grounds. Recently, it became home to a beachfront art paradise, namely in the form of an Enchanted Forest that has an artist’s studio as well as a Sculpture Garden where nine works by islanders, both local and international, have already found a home. The artists are invited for a period of five weeks to create and share their passion. Artwork on display includes Calabash Thomas’ Faces of the Forest and Venice-Biennale-2017 artist Asher Mains’ The Cube. To celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, Laluna is also planning a series of food, wellness, and art installations.

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Bahian singer composer Luedji Luna

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View from the hotel

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Luna in the state-of-the-art music production room

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Poolside at Chez Georges

Chez Georges
Brazil

Set between central Rio and the city’s southern beaches, this private villa is a music-maker’s dream-come-true housed in a brilliant work of Brazilian Brutalism. The entire house is hooked up to a state-of-the-art music production room—situated below the welcoming 14-meter-long pool—transforming the villa into a huge recording studio and making it the perfect venue for our second Further edition where we invited a group of internationally renowned musicians, including experimental cellist Kelsey Lu, drummer Zach Tretcault of Hundred Waters, and Canadian electro-pop duo Purity Ring, for an intimate writing camp. Chez Georges also hosted upcoming singer composer Luedji Luna, who celebrates her Afro-Brazilian heritage with Bahian rhythms and instruments. Luna’s breezy vocals along with bassist Aniel Someillan and guitarist Mauricio Paz’s sounds perfectly complement the villa’s dreamy setting.

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Kenny Scharf’s Endless Totem, 1997

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Companion, Passing Through by KAWS, 2011

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Legacy Mantle by Sui Jianguo, 2003

Casa Malca
Mexico

The driving force behind the property, Lio Malca, is a lion in the art world, having launched retrospectives at New York’s Whitney Museum. For Casa Malca, he brings artwork worthy of a museum. The beachfront mansion features a frequently rotating roster of paintings and sculptures by some of the world’s most revered contemporary artists, such as Marina Abramovic, Subodh Gupta, and Keith Haring. Around the property grounds one finds Kenny Scharf’s Endless Totem, of which Scharf says, “This Tiki Totem moniker is a fantasy come true. To realize something of this magnitude is beyond my wildest dreams. As I’ve said before, art should, above all, be fun, and these huge 3D forms translate that perfectly.” Then there’s the Maoist iconography of Sui Jianguo in the largescale form of the Mao suit—a collective totemic symbol for several generations of Chinese.

“As I've said before, art should, above all, be fun, and these huge 3D forms translate that perfectly.”
Kenny Scharf

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Amanecer en Tulum by Pedro Friedeberg, 2019

The theme of iconography continues with surreal Mexican artist Pedro Friedeberg whose works were on display at Casa Malca during Art with Me 2019. The architecture school dropout’s eclectic body of work bridges architectural imagery and psychedelic patterns with occult motifs. He also recently collaborated with Malca on the book La Casa Irracional—available in all the suites—featuring canvases of architectural fantasies with references to tantric writing, Aztec codices, Catholicism, and more.

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Meggy Bernhardt on display at the Artistic Loft

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150 x 100cms acrylic on board

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100 x 100cms acrylic on board

Hotel Galery69
Poland

Part gallery, part showroom, part hotel, Galery69 in Poland’s bucolic northeastern lake region of Wulpinskie, effortlessly melds art with unspoiled nature. Artists Malgosia and Wojtek Zóltowsky have hand built the furniture here to match the countryside’s fluid contours. The pieces made with natural materials and found throughout the building are available for sale under their label, Manufaktura69. Thanks to their open-door policy, the pair have built a haven for the country’s creative set.

“For the last 20 years I have been a custodian, studying and contemplating modern and non-contemporary art. After having critiqued so many works of art, I decided it is time to pick up the brush myself.”
Malgosia Zoltowsk

“Since the very beginning of our journey as designers, we have created a friendly place for the arts, with me playing the role of a curator,” explains Malgosia. “Painting has been ever-present in our lives. For the last 20 years I have been a custodian, studying and contemplating modern and non-contemporary art. After having critiqued so many works of art, I decided it is time to pick up the brush myself.” Under the sobriquet Meggy Bernhardt, Malgosia’s paintings have appeared unannounced in Galery69’s restaurant, rooms, corridors, and gallery called the Artistic Loft.

Casa Proal
Mexico

At the end of the 19th century, San Rafael became the the home of French settlers from the Haute-Saône region who emigrated to Mexico. It is here that they built highly expressive agricultural estates, a few of which are remaining. One such property belonging to Samuel Proal was bought and restored by Grupo Habita’s Carlos Couturier and Casa Proal was born. “At the beginning, the objective of Fundación Casa Proal was to recover the old French houses that were being lost,” says Couturier. “The first of these became a hotel, Maison Couturier. Then, with the second one, I had to think of something different, so I approached the French Embassy and proposed that they create a residence for French-speaking artists, linking the past with the future of the region.”

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Felix Blume recorded the inhabitant's stories for his installation

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Metal water drums made of stainless steel bowls superimposed on black Oaxacan clay bowls

Since July 2015, the Casa Proal Foundation has hosted creatives from Francophone countries who work with various mediums, such as painting, photography, video, sound, writing, and sculpture. One such artist, Felix Blume, created an onsite sound and light installation this year in the center of the village Paso de Telaya, playing with ideas of collective memory, history, and cultural activism. Blume, an audio engineer with a passion for music, sounds, and culture, was inspired by the stories of the villagers. The piece consists of 40 fiberglass lamps hung from a tree with corresponding stainless-steel drums on the ground. Each lamp represents 40 years of the tree’s lifespan and each drum has a year on it, marking a significant event for the villagers. Blume also put together an album with old photos and stories of these events for Paso de Telaya’s inhabitants to have a physical testament to their history and also for visitors to have a more intimate experience with the place. The lamps are still lit every night by the villagers for whom this installation has surpassed art to become an emotional thread that binds them all.

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Famous Russian artist Alisa Yoffe's bathrobes for Richter

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Lockdown exhibition at the hotel in July 2020

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10 major young artists showcased their work

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All sales went directly to the artists

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Different mediums on display at the exhibition

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Richter regularly runs artist residencies and workshop programs

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Every space in the hotel acts as a gallery

Richter Hotel
Russia

Hotel, gallery, studio, theater, and radio station, this iconic mansion is Moscow’s new home base for creatives. Though Richter Hotel serves many functions, experimentation and curation are the keys that hold it together. Just last month, the hotel hosted an exhibition by 10 major young Moscow artists showcasing their big artworks during the lockdown. The creatives on display included artist, model, and Jil Sander-muse Jolie Alien, founder of the creative association Notre Utopie and the art movement Perkinism Vova Perkin, and co-founder of the award-winning Krasny exhibition space in central Moscow Irina Petrakova.

Richter’s residents come from diverse fields such as upcoming composer Alina Petrova, whose music will accompany a contemporary ballet show in the hotel’s garden at the end of August, Anna Kolcova who created a gold and pearl jewelry collection inspired by Richter’s brand identity animals, and promising pianist Igor Yakovenk. In September, the hotel plans to launch a bath, ceramic, and upcycled clothing collection.

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Vincent Hart at work

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Hart's paintings are inspired by Rothko

The Slate
Thailand

An ode to Phuket’s tin mining past, this one-of-a-kind resort, which marries industrial chic with traditional Thai design, invites eclectic artistic talent to produce works at the resort. For the second year, The Slate will collaborate with Central Saint Martin’s College for a six-month artist-in-residence program in 2020. The hotel’s first resident from the college was the exceptional young British artist Vincent Hart. Fascinated by light and color, Hart specializes in contemporary painting influenced by Mark Rothko. The colors, shapes, and forms of the paintings he produced at The Slate seem almost to merge, joyously celebrating the wonderous nature outside.

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