tatzu nishi: the merlion hotel at singapore biennale 2011
original content
feb 25, 2011
tatzu nishi: the merlion hotel at singapore biennale 2011

‘the merlion hotel’ by tatsu nishi, rendering

since the late 1990s, japanese artist tatzu nishi has
been creating out-of-scale and
out-of-place encounters in public spaces
around the world.
he has transformed
street lights, parked cars and
monuments, building new spaces around
them and altering their setting.
the merlion hotel, nishi’s most recent project, especially created for
the singapore biennale 2011, comprises a luxurious hotel room
built around singapore’s national monument, the 70-tonne white cement artwork ‘the merlion’,  offering
audiences an entirely new relationship
to this globally recognized

close-up of the merlion hotel

this one-of-a-kind installation piece will transform singapore’s beloved
iconic landmark into a temporary and luxurious hotel suite, open in the
day for public viewing and in the evening for overnight stays. the hotel will take in reservations from 28 february 2011.
members of the public can book a one-night stay between 4 april to 5 may for two adults at the special rate of 150 singapore dollars nett.
the hotel is fully furnished with a double-bed, bathroom, amenities,
personalised room check-in, dedicated merlion hotel butler as well as
breakfast at the fullerton hotel singapore. check-in: 8.30pm7 / check-out: 8.30am. reservations are made on a first-come-first-served basis.
bookings can be made here: dial (+65) 6332 9870, between 10am – 5pm (GMT +8)

additionally, a promotional contest, the ‘I should stay at the merlion hotel’’ will allow a lucky person win a
complimentary night’s stay
at the hotel on the first and last nights of
the biennale (march 13 and may 15).

in this contest, individuals have to submit personal
stories of no more than 100 words, explaining why they deserve to win an
stay at the hotel. submissions will be judged by tatzu nishi
and the biennale organizers.

to participate, email

[email protected]> or fax your entry to +65 6334 7919.
all entries must include the following: full name (as in NRIC/FIN or passport),
NRIC/FIN or passport number, contact number, email address, mailing address for contact and verification purposes. closing date: 7 march 2011.

rendering white facade (left), the artist’s blueprint (right)

sketch by tatzu nishi

water spews from the merlion statue, an eight-meter-tall
sculpture built in 1972, at merlion park next to one fullerton,
overlooking the scenic marina bay in singapore

image © designboom

the merlion hotel is one of the over 150 works by 63 artists from 30 countries, presented at the singapore biennale ‘open house’ program.
it will revert to being a tourist landmark on june 6.
the merlion is the main symbol of singapore, a hybrid animal that pays metaphorical tribute to the city’s name and history.
the lion element refers to the city’s original name, ‘singapura’ (‘lion city’), while the fish torso honours its maritime heritage.
the creature was dreamed up as a logo for the singapore tourist board in 1964 – and, having proved popular, was enshrined in statue in 1972.

the merlion in singapore
image © designboom

in its third edition, the singapore biennale (SB2011) is led by artistic director matthew
ngui and curators russell storer and trevor smith,
and is organized by the singapore art museum (SAM) of the national heritage board and supported by the national arts council, singapore.
open to the public from march 13 to may 15, 2011.

as the leading biennale in southeast asia, SB2011 situates contemporary
art from singapore and southeast asia within a broad international
the title ‘open house’ is conceived not as a theme but as an invitation
or ‘open doors’ onto contemporary artistic practice. artists’ practices
are not simply
grounded in describing or portraying subjects in the world, but are often actual attempts
to exchange information, translate experiences and trade places
and perspectives. ‘open house’ suggests the crossing of thresholds
between public and private, where boundaries and borders are made
it is in this fluid space that contemporary art often emerges,
out of a need to bridge the gaps between the experiential and the psychological, and between
social and political hierarchies.

tatzu nishi
was born 1960, nagoya, japan; he lives and works in berlin and tokyo,.
tatzu nishi uses scale and distance in his installations to propose fresh perspectives on what might be taken for granted or otherwise
seem ordinary. his best-known projects have involved the building of rooms around public monuments or architectural elements.
result is two-fold: on one hand, an ‘instant sculpture’ appears in a private space, and on the other, that same piece disappears
from the public sphere. within the room, this dramatic shift from public to private creates an encounter with the sculpture that is
both fascinating and uncanny; there is egalitarianism in nishi’s desire to expose art to all.
tatzu nishi works under a
variety of names as part of each
project, including tatsuro nishino, tatzu oozu and tatsurou bashi. [email protected]>

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