Saturday, 20 February 2010
TATSUROU BASHI - Japanese artist
Tatsurou Bashi's (born 1961) Villa Victoria in Derby Square is a hotel that can be hired for the night, but it is not a theme hotel in the way in which these can be found in Las Vegas. It was commissioned by the International 2002 exhibition for Liverpool Biennial in order to provoke questions, as an art-work, not in order to make money as a theme hotel
The exterior looks like a building site, and the visitor is unprepared for both the highly furnished and comfortable interior, and the huge scale of the monumental sculpture in this domestic-scale setting.
It is vivid history, drawing our attention to a neglected piece of heritage, and making it live again. Finally, through playing with the scale of public and private space, it illustrates (temporarily) the tendency to privatise public space in cities - to allow the use for commercial gain of 'heritage' that was previously considered an asset owned by the public (community).
2002 BASEL, SWITZERLAND
Bashi constructed a temporary one-room apartment atop the historical 14th-century cathedral in Basel, enclosing a bronze angel set as a weather vane on the rooftop.
Attracted by the strangeness of the image, many viewers laboriously climbed the cathedral stairs and the scaffolding to reach Bashi's creation, built nearly 40 metres above ground level. Within the apartment, they discovered the angel placed on a living room table, seemingly destined to be there. As if time travelling from the ancient cathedral to a contemporary living room, the angel had moved from a historical public setting to an intimate private domain.