Opened on 18 May 2021, Patina Maldives has partnered with Singapore based contemporary art consultancy The Artling to curate a collection of specially commissioned artworks that call to socially and environmentally conscious travellers craving deeper connections from their travel experiences. Conceived by Talenia Phua Gajardo, Head Art & Design Hunter and Founder/CEO of The Artling, as a series of artistic encounters with which guests can directly interact, each bespoke piece forms an integral part of the island landscape.
Maps empower guests to discover the collection of outdoor sculptures in their own time, giving them agency over their cultural stimulation and facilitating independent interaction with the island environment. “The discovery process adds another layer to the guests’ experiences,” says Gajardo, who worked with both the interior designers and the landscape architects to install the art programme. “Everything is bespoke. Every single piece is a different story, a different journey, a different materiality.”
On arrival, guests are greeted by Home Deep Blue, a six-metre-widetapestry by New York-based artist Hiroko Takeda, whose work celebrates the traditions of Mingei Undou, the Japanese folk craft movement. Using blue and green cotton linen yarn, Takeda has created a heavy textural fabric of abundant movement and rhythm, light and shadow. “I was certainly thinking of the colours and fragile ecology of the island setting,” she says, “and I approached the wide canvas as a horizon between the depth of ocean and sky.”
In a palm-fringed clearing, a series of eight mirrored columns stand directly onto the white sand, drawing viewers in and immersing them in
reflections of themselves and their surroundings. Created by Netherlands based Chinese artist Hongjie Yang from marine-grade stainless steel, Synthesis Monoliths juxtaposes pristine mirror-polished surfaces with rugged, seemingly igneous formations. “They’re arranged in a way that causes them to appear as some sort of archaeological discovery,” Yang says. “The installation is physically and symbolically like a ‘middle ground’ that serves as the connecting point between the viewer and their own deeper connection to the environment, nature, and ultimately the larger universe.”
Close to the water’s edge, self-taught Mexican sculptor Jose Dávila also reveals a relation of contrasts with Los Limites de lo Posible IX, a series of stone sculptures in which perfect geometric shapes hewn from volcanic recinto interact with the capricious natural forms of unaltered sandstone boulders.
Further along the beach, Porto-based studio FAHR 021.3 has installed Momento, an arrestingly large yet simple swoop of white concrete, “Almost like a sail, or a sheet of paper,” according to studio co-founder Hugo Reis. “It’s like a small stage that offers as much a sense of freedom as the rest of the island, and at the same time allows people to somehow relate themselves to the surroundings.” Guests are invited to interact with the piece: to sit or lie down in its curved embrace or walk through it.
Arguably the centrepiece of the island’s art collection, Amarta is the latest in the long-running series of ‘Skyspaces’ by renowned US artist and influential member of the California Light and Space movement, James Turrell. Turrell has been experimenting with these extraordinary sanctuaries since the 1970s, playing with light and the idea of the ethereal as a tangible material in some of the farthest corners of the world. From the inside, the Skyspace pavilion’s open ceiling appears to flatten and frame the sky, while concealed lighting subtly shifts the viewer’s perception of colour, distance, shape, and density.
“The unique thing about creating a Skyspace in the Maldives is that if there were ever a Skyspace at sea, the Maldives is perfectly that in the Indian ocean. I look at water as spirit, and light as that spirit which unites the vision with the eyes closed (vision in the dream state) with the light that is in the physical world. This is something that is uniquely done here in the Maldives and why I entitled the piece Amarta. Amarta is the immortal elixir, which I feel to be light.” said James Turrell, on Amarta at Patina Maldives.
Turrell worked directly with architects Studio MK27 to achieve the exacting specifications and razor-thin edges required for the ceiling to create these striking effects, while imbuing the structure with the same look and feel of the island’s other buildings; the Brazilian studio’s DNA is evident in the vertical wooden slats of the Skyspace exterior, which conjure a continuous dance of light and shadow throughout the day. The shared artistic experience of Patina Maldives’ communal spaces is complemented in the privacy of its accommodation. Renowned Brazilian photographer Cássio Vasconcellos was commissioned to capture images of Maldivian flora and fauna for each of the villas. The resulting series of nine large-scale photographic prints imbue the interiors with a tropical sense of place, drawing the outside in and further accentuating the architectural dialogue with nature.
Future plans include the creation of a dedicated space at Patina Maldives which would host a rolling programme of artist residencies, exhibitions and exclusive events curated by The Artling, with a particular focus on themes such as sustainability, renewal, community, balance and transformation.
For more information about Patina Hotels and Resorts, please visit https://patinahotels.com/