Why show art in a hotel?

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AT ITS most basic, the task of a hotel is to give you a bed to stay in for a short period of time. The Conrad Manila elevates the experience of a hotel stay by displaying works by esteemed Filipino artists in its quarterly Art and Wine.

Late last month, the exhibit at the hotel’s Gallery C — done in collaboration with Galery Valentina — displayed the works of Olivia d’Aboville, Pardo de Leon, and Mac Valdezco. The exhibit is called Textures and Terrains, each artwork (numbering 13 in total) displaying virtuosity in expressing texture and tactility. All of the works are for sale, and are still on display.

Ms. D’Aboville’s works are culled from a series called “Moonlit Water,” and are made of abaca, polyester, metalic thread, and digital print, with an attempt to show the shape of water in a static form, as if she tried to capture the precise moment a ripple has formed.

Ms. Valdezco’s work, meanwhile, use plastic tubing, nylon, acrylic, and epoxy, and she borrows a bit from the aesthetic of art made from found objects (one of these works looks like an egg tray, after all).

Finally, Ms. De Leon’s work is a triptych displaying the phases of the sun at various times of the day, from dusk until dawn, in a vibrant spectrum of reds, yellows, oranges, and even hints of pink.

Laurent Boisdron, the Conrad’s General Manager, boasts that the hotel has over 700 artworks around the hotel, all made by Filipino artists.

As mentioned before, the primary purpose of a hotel is to provide a bed, maybe a meal; but Mr. Boisdron said about the artworks, “I think it’s enhancement; it’s part of the experience.”

One of the exhibit’s curators, Con Cabrera said, “The art is not just decorative.” She cites exhibits in other countries also held in hotels, where the art, again, is not just decorative, but current and contemporary, and creates a dialogue between the work and the hotel’s customers. “There is a captured public already. And that captured public should experience art the same way,”she added.

Artworks are usually expected to hang in polite museums and galleries, but it seems that changing times make it more important for art’s presence to be felt.

“We have to expand these art discussions or the viewership of art; whether that’s in a hotel of a park. We have to explore art venues for art to be seen and to be discussed.” — JLG