tatzu nishi opens the merlion hotel installation in singapore
 
tatzu nishi opens the merlion hotel installation in singapore tatzu nishi opens the merlion hotel installation in singapore
mar 31, 2011

tatzu nishi opens the merlion hotel installation in singapore

following up on our preview article about the merlion hotel by japanese artist tatzu nishi, designboom now brings you some interior photo shots of this temporary hotel suite installation, especially created for the singapore art biennale. a luxurious hotel room has been built around singapore’s beloved iconic landmark — the 70-tonne white cement monument ‘the merlion’.

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
the merlion hotel during public viewing
image © designboom

 

 

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. it will revert to being a tourist landmark on june 6, 2011. tatzu nishi offers local and international audiences an entirely new relationship to this globally recognized symbol.


the merlion is the main symbol of singapore

 

 

the merlion hotel is open during the day for public viewing and in the evening for overnight stays. 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).

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
the merlion
image © designboom

 

 

designboom (DB): are there three keywords behind your artistic concept?

 

tatzu nishi (TN): funny, violent, sexy. the fun part is to overthrow common sense, stimulating people’s imagination by instantly turning things upside down. violent refers to art that should be revolutionary. sexiness arises where private and public aspects are mixed.


the merlion within the room
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: by transfiguring private and public, you also keep playing with what you call the ‘name changing project’.

 

TN: I have changed my name several times. right now I am tatzu nishi, but I am operating under such aliases as tazro niscino, tatsurou bashi, tatsu oozu, … i change every two years or so. as a public means identifying an individual, the name is the closest thing to a person.

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
right behind the bed
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: an outdoor location is different from a museum or gallery, people do not need to travel to with the intention to see art…

 

TN: average citizens as housewives or company employees are part of my audience. isn’t art originally the oposite of nature? my definition of art is to keep suggesting alternative views to the general public. an artist is not somebody who goes out and expresses correct opinions whatsoever. sometimes we stimulate positive thoughts, just by saying negative things. art doesn’t need to be logical and it doesn’t have to render any service to society. art continues to provide this world with different perspectives, but art must possess enough influential power to do things like improving society, adding more freedom to society (which does not necessarily mean ‘ making it a better place to live’ — this is somewhat paradoxical).

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: essentially you ‘repack existing environments’?

 

TN: I’m kind of ‘internalizing the exterior’ (and externalization of the interior). in the middle of consumer culture, tmy act of packaging not only integrates exterior elements into interior settings, but addresses the privatization of public spaces. historical monuments or public constructions are turned into decorative items of the private space — I see it as ‘implementing exclusiveness’ — superficially advocating openness. it reflects the present situation of power issues in the realm of public space. for example, in parks, benches are fitted with extra armrests to prevent people from using them for sleeping, public monuments are covered by advertisements…

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
the vanity table is lacquered black, wallpaper graphics created by tatzu nishi
image © designboom

 

 

the wallpaper, created also by tatzu nishi, features patterns of sir stamford raffles, the founder of modern singapore, alongside the merlion, a chinese temple and the marina bay sands building. the exclusive furniture was provided by king & king wong, a malaysian furniture retailer, residing in singapore.


wallpaper graphics created by tatzu nishi
image © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
souvenir basket with short city guide, the singapore biennale program and the merlion stuffed animal
image © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
image © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
bathroom with view to the marina bay sands building
images © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
visitors commenting positively in the guest book
image © designboom

 

 

the biggest challenge for tatzu nishi — when coming up with the idea of the merlion hotel — was ‘getting permission’. the project has been made possible thanks in part to the support of the singapore tourism board and the urban redevelopment authority.

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
tatzu nishi is the first guest sleeping at the merlion hotel
image © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
tatzu nishi
portrait © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
image © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
the merlion hotel facade
image © designboom

tatzu nishi merlion hotel
the merlion statue – not covered
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.

 

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.

  • the elephant in the sitting room..

    tty says:
  • …and don’t turn on the shower

    Ss says:
  • Am I missing something… how can you on one hand offer ‘egalitarianism in nishi’s desire to expose art to all’ and then state that you are trying to ‘implement exclusiveness’. I also note that Mr. Nishi has completed this same genre many times before (which we know works for some but not all.) Is the mirror placed on the vertical rather than the horizontal part of his ‘cunning plan’ or just a mistake?
    I think Mr. Nishi should consider another name change to Mitzu Bishi as they also bring out new models of the same idea frequently (although theirs are better)

    mawdster says:
  • @ mawdster, I think you got Nishi wrong. With his artwork
    he is indeed implementing exclusiveness, but with the aim to create awareness that this is an ongoing practice of powerful lobbies in society. It’s an eyeopener.

    Kris says:
  • Even my stepmother would not want this wallpaper in her room…

    iBouc says:
  • WTF?!

    z says:

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