Guest Relations, 2014
Sydney based Robyn Stacey was Sofitel Melbourne On Collins’s Artist in Residence for three weeks in February 2013.
During her time at Sofitel, Stacey produced a body of work based on the camera obscura, a term from the Latin for "dark room," the name given to the phenomenon whereby an image of the surrounding world is projected onto a screen or wall in a darkened room. Cited in the writings of Aristotle, and Da Vinci, used by Vermeer and Caravaggio to create their paintings, the camera obscura is in many ways the technological prototype for the modern camera.
Sofitel Melbourne On Collins is renowned for its’ vistas over Melbourne, providing guests with 360 degree views over the city and the suburbs, from iconic inner city Melbourne sites the view extends as far as the mountain ranges, this panorama is part of the architectural fabric of the Sofitel and makes it an important landmark in Melbourne both physically and emotionally.
The camera obscura projects an upside down reversed image of the external world onto the walls and roof of the hotel room creating a surreal or hyper real space in the room. Colonnades of buildings, cityscapes of roads and parks, and everyday life are visually inserted into the closed and autonomous insularity of the room. Underlying the hermetic nature of the hotel room is the awareness of its transient nature, whether it is experienced as a mode of transit between source and destination, or as the constructed world of inward-directed experience, it is a world with a time limit, surrendered to the temporary and ephemeral.
Hotel rooms are also waiting spaces, waiting in rooms for people to arrive, for events to start, or just waiting to go home. The aim of the residency was to explore the dreamlike quality of the camera obscura and the hermetic, but transient nature of the hotel room and the impact that this has on staff and guests alike.
Stacey has been producing work since the mid-1980s and is now one of Australia’s acclaimed photographic artists, her photographs are held in major public, private and corporate collections including the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and Artbank.
Artist in Residence 2013
Exhibition April - June 2014