Splendide Hotel

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
March 13 – August 31, 2014

Exhibition view

Splendide Hotel, 2014

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

Neon sign above the entrance 

 

Photo © Joaquín Cortés / Román Lores, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Exhibition view

Splendide Hotel, 2014

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

 

Photo © Joaquín Cortés / Román Lores, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Exhibition view

Splendide Hotel, 2014

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

 

Photo © Joaquín Cortés / Román Lores, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Exhibition view

Splendide Hotel, 2014

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

 

Photo © José Castañal

Exhibition view

Splendide Hotel, 2014

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

 

Photo © José Castañal

Exhibition view

Splendide Hotel, 2014

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

 

Photo © Joaquín Cortés / Román Lores, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Exhibition view

Splendide Hotel, 2014

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

 

Photo © Joaquín Cortés / Román Lores, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Splendide Hotel

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina SofĂ­a, Madrid
March 13 – August 31, 2014
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Taking the date of construction of the Palacio de Cristal as point of departure, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster creates a complex, intuitive web of literary, cultural, musical, and historical associations around books, objects, discoveries and their authors and readers, around the year 1887—the year is peopled with birthdays, publishing dates and moments of scientific discovery.

 

In the center of the Palacio de Crystal a room closely echoing the formal language of the pavilion that surrounds it has been built. At first it might be mistaken for part of the original structure, yet the space is enclosed and without a visible entrance. Visitors can look in but not enter. Its floor is covered with wall-to-wall carpeting imprinted with the pattern of Persian carpets imported to Europe in the 19th century (and shown in pictures of the Palacio de Cristal from the time of its opening). Changing every few days, one of four different objects is placed on the carpet, evoking the trace of an absent inhabitant circa 1887: either a top hat, lace-up boots, a gramophone or an orchid plant. The room stands in for the Hotel Splendide of the work’s title, or as the artist described it in her notes “a stage or an aquarium, a literarium / it’s full of ghosts and guests.”

 

Outside of this room, in the remaining space of the Palacio de Cristal, rocking chairs are placed in irregular intervals. Re-editions of classic Thonet period furniture, the chairs act as domestic objects and historical references at the same time. Each one has a specially bound purple book tied to it that contains three individual volumes, encouraging visitors to sit down and read. The list of books (see attached) includes, among others, literature, science fiction and philosophy in German, English, French and Spanish. An effort was made to have each volume in their original language and when possible complemented by its English and Spanish translation.

The title, adapted from a line by Arthur Rimbaud, conflates a multitude of literary, cultural and historical references. The rich web of associations creates an atmosphere that acts as a link, or like a H.G. Wells time machine, to the 19th century, specifically to the year 1887, creating a fictional moment that appears to echo through time as representation of an imaginary place and time.

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