Through various initiatives over the years, The Peninsula group of hotels have become renowned for their commitment to supporting the contemporary arts and for enabling access to artworks of esteemed and emerging artists by displaying them at their properties around the world. The groups’ ‘Artist in Residence’ programme is one such initiative whereby each hotel in the group promotes the rich and vibrant cultural aspects of the city in which it is located by hosting the works of local artists. As a result, each property is able to offer a bespoke, aesthetically stimulating environment that invites the guests to venture on an exploration of the senses.
“As a global luxury hotel brand with a 90-year legacy, we understand the important place that art holds for humanity – it’s an inclusive, universal language that crosses borders and builds connections,” says Peter Borer, Chief Operating Officer of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels group, which owner and operator of The Peninsula Hotels.
This year, The Peninsula Hotel was the official hotel partner of Art Basel Hong Kong, held between March 29 and 31. Given its commitment to art, the group was never going to be a silent partner. In fact, The Peninsula kicked off the itinerary of Art Basel Hong Kong when it launched a new, multi-year, global campaign titled ‘Art in Resonance.’ It features newly commissioned, immersive installations by mid-career contemporary artists while offering new experiences.
“We not only want to provide artists with a platform to exhibit, but we want to commission original pieces to support working artists and ensure the health of the cultural ecosystem within each of the hotel’s local communities.” – Peter Borer, CEO, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels
“To that end, we will also have robust programming around ‘Art in Resonance’ at each hotel that includes artist talks, studio visits and panel discussions with leading artists, creatives and thinkers,” added Borer.
To oversee the ‘Art in Resonance’ project, the group has partnered with respected curators, Isolde Brielmaier and Bettina Prentice. They have been entrusted to “seek out artists who are poetically pushing the boundaries of their mediums and engaging the senses in works that will inspire and enchant visitors,” reads a statement from the group.
Prentice, the New York-based co-curator, said: “Isolde and I supported The Peninsula Hotels with their desire to specifically seek out art that requires the visitor to be present – physically and emotionally – in order to fully experience and commune with the work. From the beginning, we have had the support of The Peninsula Hotels’ leadership to create a cohesive programme that is multi-generational, cross-cultural and innovative.”
At the Hong Kong property, three artists – Janet Echelman, Iván Navarro, and Timothy Paul Myers – and a Shanghai-based Chinese architecture collective called MINAX have been commissioned to produce bespoke pieces for the ‘Art in Resonance’ campaign.
American Experiential sculptor Echelman seeks to make the invisible visible with her Earthtime 1.26 by capturing the movement of the air in the middle of the iconic ‘C’ shaped outer facade of the Peninsula Hong Kong building. She uses the simplest of materials like fishermen’s netting in combination with a sophisticated lighting system that was assembled by a team of highly skilled engineers. “I want art to become part of life, and I want it to be as accessible as the air we breathe. I want to make art where people live, so we work on the scale of cities,” says Echelman.
Chilean artist Navarro’s HOME installation is an optical illusion where the letters ‘H,’ ‘O,’ ‘M,’ and ‘E’ form a downward vertical chain along the four sides of a square-shaped virtual hole that is seemingly endless. It is designed to draw the viewers in and encourage contemplation. Alizarin by Australian artist Myers is installed contrastingly in a corner of the hotel’s lobby. It features furniture and everyday items – from teapots to suitcases – that are wrapped in a deep red felt. “I think it’s most interesting when we encounter art in unexpected places,” says Myers.
The Wonder Room by MINAX builds on the woodworking techniques of historical China to create a modern take on the traditional Chinese teahouse. While the exterior is a nondescript, simple box, the interior envelops and cocoons the guests from the outside world within a complex egg-like structure. “I think that natural materials have a touch of warmth. They can better express our understanding of space and also create a better atmosphere,” says MINAX founder Zhi-gang Lu.
A selection of pieces from the Hong Kong
launch, which runs until 23 June, will travel to The Peninsula Paris in the
autumn of 2019, where they will be joined by additional, newly commissioned
installations from local artists. This spring and autumn cadence will, in turn,
be replicated each year, as the programme travels and grows between the ten
locations of The Peninsula Hotels and three under development in London,
Istanbul and Yangon.
“Our great hope is that this multi-year programme will engage guests and the local public in a way that will bring a smile to everyone’s face,” says Borer.