In the exhibition SPLENDIDE HOTEL, devised for the Palacio de Cristal, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (Strasbourg, France 1965), puts forward a journey that transports the viewer into spaces and times, where the imaginary is mixed with reality and where literature maps out the guidelines to follow for inhabiting this oneiric world, taking the artwork beyond the meaning of its objects.
Since her early work in the 1980s, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster has continued to explore the idea of space and time, concepts that underpin her body of work. On this occasion, the architecture in the Palacio de Cristal becomes the nucleus of her exhibition as it aims to revisit the nineteenth-century context surrounding the construction of the building through a new scenographic exercise.
The Hotel Splendide in Lugano was opened in 1887, with the name already coming into being previously in Arthur Rimbaud’s poem Après le Déluge, published in 1886. Splendide was also the name of the hotel in Évian-les-Bains, where Marcel Proust holidayed with his family. This date coincides with the year the Palacio de Cristal was built in the Retiro Park in order to house the plants and flowers for the General Exhibition on the Philippine Islands.
It is this idea that Gonzalez-Foerster wants to transfer to the Palacio de Cristal, recreating one sole room in this imaginary hotel. A rug covers the floor of the room and its surroundings, various rocking chairs invite viewers to take a seat and become participants in the work, immersing themselves among some of the many books chosen by the artist for the occasion. José Rizal, Dostoyevsky, Rubén Darío, H. G. Wells and Enrique Vila-Matas are just some of the authors submitted by the French artist for this journey.