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Villa Victoria

Bashi’s project for the International 2002 is Villa Victoria – a fully furnished and functioning hotel room and reception constructed around the Monument to Queen Victoria in Derby Square. This temporary structure is built around the statue in such a way that the pedestal of the central sculpture disappears – enabling the hotel guest and visitor to stand at the same level as Queen Victoria. Bashi transforms an archetypal public monument into an artwork, an event, and a meeting place complete with comfortable accommodation for travellers, albeit in an unusual setting. Together, the hotel, the guests and the sculpture of Queen Victoria symbolise travel, mobility, trade and community. The artist has reflected: ‘In a hotel there are always lots of people from all over the world. This character of a hotel is quite similar to the character of a big seaport like Liverpool and therefore reflects an important aspect of the city's history and identity.’ Villa Victoria is not only a giant, building-site-like object in the city, but also a phenomenon that involves the visitor as viewer and participant – their role is key to the artwork/event that is constructed for them – the experience of the visitor is at the very heart of Bashi’s practice: ‘The main role of public sculpture is at its inauguration, but people forget the story and the reason for it very quickly and in time they even forget that the sculpture is there. When the sculpture is surrounded by my project, people notice it again and they also remember its story. The sculpture looks fresh and renewed, because you see it, standing in a room or foyer, and you see it from a new perspective.’ Tatsurou Bashi’s project highlights and reminds us of the very nature of how and why such monuments exist and examines their relationship to the physical, historical, civic and social fabric of the city. In doing so, it offers a unique opportunity for visitors, whether residents of the city or tourists, to consider these questions within a refreshing and entertaining experience of one of Liverpool’s most prominent and historically significant sites. Catherine Gibson

Project Credits Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art International Exhibition 2002 Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects has collaborated with Liverpool Biennial in the realisation of Villa Victoria With support from: Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes Manchester, Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects

Date

14 September – 24 November 2002