Last Saturday, we went to a fancy 6-star hotel to celebrate our service award win. Yes, it was good fun, the food was good and the company even better. But I want to talk about the hotel.
The hotel looks like a bunker from outside – all shiny steel and closed-up. If not for some sculptures outside, you would not know it was there. You see, I had arrived early for the do, courtesy of a very kind couple. So while everybody was busy with something or other, I went off on a little saunter around the place.
Inside the hotel, it is like any other hotel – airy and spacious. What distinctively stood out were the artworks.
I am not talking about the large pieces of Chen Kaizhen or Chua Ek Kay gracing most of the wider walls (specially commissioned by the hotel, mind you). But rather the more intimate pieces tucked away in little corners. There were a Cheong Soo Pieng, a Georgette Chen and a Chen Wen Hsi all hung at the lobby. As far as I am concerned, these pieces chipped away a little bit of the veneer of corporate-ness of this nondescript, rather impersonal hotel. It seems as if the owner of the hotel wanted to exert a bit of her/his personality by choosing from her/his presumably sumptuous collection, these little gems – perhaps to share with us the pleasure of having them around.
And such a pleasure it is to gaze upon the swirls of a Georgette Chen Beijing scene in this bunker of a hotel. I would have preferred one of her more vivacious still-lifes but then I suppose the owner wanted a more calming and understated piece. The small Chen Wen Hsi seems more personal compared to some of his pieces in our museums. The Cheong Soo Pieng of a group of ladies stuck out despite its faded color. The hotel had reframed these pieces as all of them seem to share the same sort of gilded frame. What a shame.
In a little nook upstairs where they have some very comfortable sofas were 2 Miros. Lovely, happy Miros. What a joy to see them! And get this – in a Chinese restaurant – tucked away in one its private corners is a little Jasper Johns. Oooo… I love Jasper Johns. But this piece, not so. But it’s a Jasper Johns and that’s enough for me to stare at it for a long while.
So, when do you suppose the owner is going to bring out more little gems? I am reminded that it is a hotel and not a museum or a gallery. Oh well… By the way, there used to be a Jimmy Ong at another hotel but then, if it is a hotel, it may not be there any more.