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

tatzu nishi: the merlion hotel preview at singapore biennale 2011

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 symbol.

tatzu nishi singapore biennale
close-up of the merlion hotel




this one-of-a-kind installation piece by tatzu nishi 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. 

tatzu nishi singapore biennale
rendering white facade (left), the artist’s blueprint (right)



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 overnight  stay at the hotel. submissions will be judged by tatzu nishi and the biennale organizers.

tatzu nishi singapore biennale
sketch by tatzu nishi



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.

tatzu nishi singapore biennale
water spews from the merlion statue, an eight-meter-tall sculpture built in 1972
image © designboom

tatzu nishi singapore biennale
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 conversation. 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 permeable.
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.

  • He made a similar work in Nantes (France) in 2007. It was an hotel room in a fountain. Incredible to see !

    nantes tourisme
  • would love to stay there for one night.
    [url=http://foundbyjames.com/notes/tatzu-nishi] see also [/url]


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