Inspired Spaces

Translation By: 
Alice Kok
Photos by Eduardo Martins
City of Dreams invites guests to explore a new series of contemporary art pieces
The recently opened Morpheus Hotel at City of Dreams is an inspiring sight, both outside and in, with its very unique and eye-catching architectural design.
And this impressive design and the interesting spaces it creates, has also served to inspire a number of renowned international contemporary artists whose works are on display around the property and throughout City of Dreams.
One such artist is Japanese painter Shinji Ohmaki whose work Echoes Infinity creates a fantastic corridor of colours and floral patterns for guests to explore. 
The latest installment in the Echoes series that the artist began in 2002, the theme or concept of the series is to try to realise culture, history and memories.
“Particularly for this artwork, the inspiration came from the design of the hotel itself.   When I saw the outside structure of the building, it reminded me of the Tree of Life by Da Vinci, formed from different shapes all fit together,” explained Ohmaki when CLOSER spoke with him on the day of the grand opening of the new hotel.
“With this work, I have been able to convert the whole corridor into my own piece of art, not just hanging a painting on the wall,” he adds.  
The artist goes on to explain that the shape of the corridor, going from wide to narrow and back to wide again, offers contrasting dimensions that adds to the overall effect of the artwork.
“I like to imbue a sense of space in my work and consider how the audience will percieve that space,” he notes. 
Currently, only the first phase of the work has been completed, covering one wall of the corridor.  Ultimately when it’s finished, the artwork will cover the whole 54-metre corridor, not just the walls, but the floor space too.   
“Right now there are about 56 panels, but it’s only a quarter finished,” says Shinji. “Using the walls, floors and mirrors, visitors will be immersed in the space, and experience a visual illusion of what’s real and what’s not. 
“With the branches going in different directions from different angles, and the mirrors adding to the effect, you can’t see all of it in one go, so you have to pay attention as you walk inside, to find all the details.” 
From conception to its current state of completion has taken the artist around two months, and he estimates the entire work will be done by around mid-September.
To create the colourful effects, over 100 diffferent types of crystallised pigments, glass and natural minerals were crushed into very fine particles, and layered on to the panels in different shapes, layer by layer until the desired effect was achieved. Over 200 different shaped molds were used to place the pigments on to the panels. 
“This is similar to a traditional form of Japanese art known as Rinpa, developed in the 17th century, that adds layer upon layer, so I am adapting and evolving this technique,” explains the artist. 
As well as being inspired by the architecture of Morpheus, Ohmaki also took inspiration from the city in which the artwork is located.
“You can see from the artwork, there are a lots of different plants grafted together and this represents different cultures coming together through history, forming into new cultures and continuing on. And this is kind of representative of Macau, because Macau is a meeting spot for different cultures and peoples, so I think it fits here.”
Another new must-see artwork, located just near Morpheus in the Boulevard at City of Dreams is the installation piece 200 LITOFAIRHOUR by French artist Charles Petillon. 
Known for his intriguing work placing hundreds of balloons in unexpected locations, Petillon has continued with this concept, filling a six-metre high space in the Boulevard with his cloud-like creation. 
“This is a very long space with a high ceiling, so it was a challenge to fill it, but also a huge opportunity, because to fill a space like this is very interesting and the goal is to provide a new experience of the place, a new point of view, so that’s why I wanted to do this here,” notes the artist. “The main question for me was how to create a sensation that we are pushing the limits of the space.”
Working on the project presented some new challenges for the artist, firstly because it is his first permanent installation, and secondly because it was the first time he had designed and created a work without actually visiting the space in person, instead working from renderings and drawings.  
“I started the process at the beginning of the year, and had to figure out very quickly how to use the space, and also consider things like safety and the existing architecture.  It was very fast and very intense,” says Petillon. 
As for why he chooses balloons as a medium to express himself, Charles points to their universal and ubiquitous nature.
“Everyone in the world knows what a balloon is, so when I started to explore this material I began to discover all these possibilities to express ideas,” he explains. “The basis of my artwork is to create metaphors and try to ask questions about our lives, about nature, philosophy. I ask questions through the balloons. They are like my finger, they help me to point to interesting things or a question.”
“And of course I just ask the question, I never provide the answers. If I had the answers, I would become a politician,” he laughs.
Despite their very simple nature, Charles sees balloons as providing many opportunities to present metaphors and ask questions.  And his installations allow guests to move around in space and time, seeing the same thing from different angles and perspectives. 
“A wonderful metaphor for being able to look at problems and questions in different ways and find different answers,” he observes.
“A balloon without air is just skin, which is a metaphor for us also. Without air the installation does not exist, it deflates, it’s just like our life.  It’s a representation of how something invisible can become visible.”