Rented by the hour
Rented by the hour is an ongoing collaborative curatorial research programme always searching
for the next appropriate architectural space.
The focus of the exhibitions and events is to exhibit in unusual buildings with complex histories
that can be rented by the hour, away from traditional white wall gallery spaces.These exhibitions
are site specific and the building itself works as an integral part of the artworks.We are aiming
for the idea of an architectural “gesamkunstwerk”.
Several exhibitions over the years have been set in a very tired run down hotel in central
London (Clearlake Hotel in South Kensington) that now is being repurposed by a developer. The
hotel housed several separate apartments and had a chequered history having in the past been
used as a brothel, a place to deal drugs from and generally a very low budget place to stay
frequented by a very large variety of people.
The interiors were very shabby and dated. Walking through this labyrinth environment of the
apartments what struck us as artists was how the building felt like a heaving, fragile, unstable
and decaying body. The auratic feel of the individual apartments were heightened by the peeling
wallpaper, tired and greasy kitchens, leaking taps and humming bathrooms. The building had its
own noises and a weakening appearence, much like a human body breaking down as it ages
over its lifespan. We imagined each apartment could almost represent a different part of the
human body, for example the nervous system,the cerebral cortex etc, but the individual artworks
evoked less literal responses to the building. We wanted to create an immersive experience
where the art interventions dissected the interiors looking inward and then mirrored and
reflected the architecture back at the viewer, creating new narratives and imagined stories. By
treating the hotel as a decaying organism we had the freedom to create sensory, oral, abstract
and psycho social environments to create a unique experience for the viewer. We wanted to
raise questions of who slept in those beds, sat in each chair etc and make the artworks respond
to some of the activities that may or may not have happened in such a transient space.
As Bernard Tschumi writes “buildings only truly come alive on the point of collapse.”
Olivia Hicks, July 2020
Curators: Olivia Hicks, Laura Clarke and Beatrice Haines