Heads up! Hotel G’s latest art installations are enclosed just beneath, or rather, above your noses!
When we first visited Hotel G, we were initially unable to find the gallery. After some clueless wandering, we were amazed – and mollified –to find the exhibition right before our eyes the entire time – up on the walls, hidden in plain sight. Perhaps it was the heat of a Saturday afternoon, or the fact that the gallery seemed to fit in with the hotel’s aesthetic so well that caused us to miss it. Either way, it was difficult for us to stop admiring the pieces once we had our eyes set on it.
I conjecture that having the works displayed high up on brackets was likely more of a logistical decision than an artistic one, but the semiotics were apt. It almost seemed like an allusion to how the local arts scene is gradually becoming more embedded in the fabrics of our society. The pieces are all local efforts curated by local arts portal RCGNTN and serve to greet guests that visit the hotel lobby.
This exhibition is the first of four instalments, a revolving exhibition part of RCGNIZE – an initiative by RCGNTN to take over physical spaces with art, showcasing creatives and their work. The series comprises a mix of different mediums by locally based artists, from illustrations to motifs, to toys. Among those showcased are the works of illustrator Kristal Melson, Risograph print studio Knuckles & Notch, designer toy labels Mighty Jaxx and FLABSLAB, calligraphy maestro HEGIRA, and urban artist TraseOne.
RCGNIZE aims to create various pop-up galleries and shops in multiple locations across Singapore where consumers (of art) may not otherwise be exposed to local artists and designers. Pieces exhibited are also available for sale at their online store.
One of the pieces that caught my eye the most was the ornate effigy that combined aspects of a seated Buddha and an iteration of Ultraman. A little-known fact about Buddha statues is that the different hand gestures have different meanings – in this case, the right palm raised with all fingers up is a symbol of fearlessness. A virtue fitting for Ultraman, a protector of Earth. Also, followers of the Ultraman series will immediately recognise Gaia as the namesake of one of the most famous Ultramen. Interestingly, Gaia is also the Greek term for Earth, which may further reference the down-to-earth teachings of Buddha.
Most will instantly recognise the imperial guardian lions as cultural icons, usually placed in front of venues to ward off negative energy. The lions always come in pairs – one male and one female – as a symbol of balance, harmony, and completeness. It is thought that while they were initially made to be lions, their appearance has led many to believe that they were dogs, and many started calling them Foo Dogs. It is intriguing that XXRAY has taken up these as commission, as their slogan is DISSECTING THE UNIVERSE. The Foo Dogs certainly have their place in the world – and perhaps revealing what’s inside will once and for all end the argument between whether they are lions or dogs.
The gallery is open 24 hours a day, and accessible to members of the public for free – this means that anyone who is interested or is within Hotel G’s vicinity could simply head down to take a look at the pieces.
The current installation runs till the first week of May, and the next instalment is set to kick in today.
Hotel G is fully supportive of the local arts scene and is worth noting that they were the official hotel partner for Singapore Design Week. Plans are also in the pipeline for artist collaborations and merchandising.
Check out the art exhibits in person at the following address:
Hotel G Singapore
200 Middle Road
Photos by Jerron Chua of the DANAMIC Team.