5 must-see installations at Come Up to My Room 2013
"25 installations, 40 artists, 4,000 people all in under four days." Such is the madness of Come Up to My Room, the annual celebration of art and design that takes over the Gladstone Hotel for four jam-packed days of installations, talks, and one massive party.
Now celebrating its 10 year anniversary, Come Up to My Room is returning to its roots this year. The event's website has been turned into an archive of previous show highlights, and this year's curators (founders Christina Zeidler and Pamila Matharu, along with Noa Bronstein and David Dick-Agnew) have encouraged their chosen designers to focus on what inspired the initial creation of the event by "occupying and altering a space in a dramatic, conceptual, or experimental way."
As the participating designers have no real boundaries beyond the hotel room walls that hold their creations, Come Up to My Room tends to blur the boundaries between our conventional expectations of art and design, resulting in some fabulously compelling work. Here are my five must-see installations in this year's show:
Reflections from the Bottom Up
As the current resident artist at the Gladstone, Bruno Billio was certainly the most familiar with his assigned room going in. And thus, his room is also the most personal, decorated with his previous design work and illuminated by his mother's repurposed chandelier. As a final touch, the undersides of all the room's furniture and the floor itself were covered in a mirrored surface, in order to create a "reflective parallel universe," and to "allow the viewer to experience how I view the everyday world around me." It's a fascinating, if disorienting, look into the mind and space of a working artist.
Meticulously assembled by design collective Fictional Territories, this project celebrates the ceremonial aspects of its own formative process. Six days of human labour were required to complete a rosary of 50 hand-dyed beads, 15,000 of which were then arranged in a tight spiral. It's a beautifully constructed (and beautiful-smelling) piece, which also draws attention to the largely unseen reality of such repetitive work in the Western world.
A Common Thread
Linking the common threads of the Gladstone Hotel's relationship with its surrounding area over time, Quadrangle Architects Limited also weaves in deconstructionism and the history of textiles within interior design into their ambitious installation. A Common Thread also manages to escape its assigned room, stretching into a beautiful yarn sculpture in the hallway outside.
In All Falsehood
SUMO Project, who consider themselves "artists with architectural backgrounds," have created a truly stunning fusion of the two within Room 202. Viewers walk inside a mirrored box in which dozens of neon lights are installed in such a way that one quickly loses a sense of distance, perspective, and even time. It's a difficult piece to describe accurately, so head over and experience it in person.
The Island of Bonemeal
Rachel Speir's fantastical installation of a "fractured fairy tale" truly transforms the hotel room into another world. In Wes Anderson-esque fashion, Speirs uses childlike imagery in her combination of lightboxes, projection video, hanging fabric, and one massive wooden shipwreck. The Island of Bonemeal is a truly immersive piece that definitely succeeds in "occupying and altering a space in a dramatic, conceptual, or experimental way."
Come Up To My Room takes places on the Gladstone Hotel's exterior and inside the café, the ballroom, and the second-floor gallery. Exhibition hours are: Friday 11:00am-8:00pm, Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm, and Sunday 11:00am-5:00
Photos by Natta Summerky