Hotel Palenque is a / artwork by U.S. artist Robert Smithson ( ). Initially existing as a series of 31 color transparency. Hotel Palenque, a slideshow of Robert Smithson’s photographs, reveals an unfinished hotel on the Mayan architectural site of Palenque, in Hotel Palenque: Robert Smithson: Books –

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A dance of immense plants with excentric shapes and colors and a incredible concentration of animals that made sounds of all kinds, day and night. This page was last edited on 10 Novemberat And this looks like a threshold, but beyond there is nothing to step into, no door and no house. The architecture is as vegetal as the plants are architectural. On the level solely of its images, Hotel Palenque can certainly be aligned to these concerns, but as Guglielmo Bargellesi-Severi and others have noted, Smithson’s work is characterized by a sophisticated awareness of “the relationship of territory and the viewing site” [19] – initially explored in the sculptural relationship of site and nonsite, and evident in Hotel Palenque in his appropriation of the format and conventions of the slide lecture to leverage significant new layers of meaning from his imagery.

The architectural mass of the ancient Mayan ruins for which Palenque is famous was all but ignored: Once again I had found myself in the footsteps of Smithson. Before leaving, Millar deposited the roll of film in one of the hotel’s safety deposit boxes and later exhibited the key, alongside the receipt for the box, as part of the exhibition ‘Sleeper,’ in Edinburgh in There were people there who worshiped the snake and, in a sense, this place is built in a kind of intertwining snaking way.

Some accomodate permanent residents who are mostly archeologists working on the nearby archeological site. While the building process is still running on one side, the building is already decaying on the other side – until the whole process of renewal and rebuilding starts over again. Hotel Palenque by Robert Smithson. While in Mexico, the party stayed at the Hotel Palenque, a partially constructed cinder-block hotel building in the town of Palenque, aimed at travelers and tourists visiting the nearby Mayan ruins.


These days people are talking a lot about sustainability. This dissolution of mental and topographic categories should not be seen as a merely nihilistic gesture, however, but perhaps one arising from the artist’s late’s milieu “more stoned than stentorian”, Wakefield observes of Smithson’s lecture style [24] and the transformative possibilities of altered perception.

The simplicity and elegance of this structure with one roofed floor is striking. Who had the idea for this floor painting? Smithson’s interest in the semi-ruined state of the hotel has been related to his broader concern with entropic disintegration, and his focus on peripheral sites such as quarries and industrial infrastructure, evidenced in works such as the photo essay “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, NJ” in which the artist first coined the term ‘ruins in reverse.

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One might say a “de-architecturing” takes place The importance of Hotel Palenque is generally related to Smithson’s ongoing concern with processes of entropyand his overarching project to recontextualize cultural or man-made elements within expanded, sometimes geological, timescales. I think that is a great concept.

Robert Smithson’s Hotel Palenque

In appropriating the Hotel as artwork, Smithson enacts gobert perceptual shift, somewhat similar to his elevation of the industrial fixtures of New Jersey to the status of ‘Monuments’. And what about all those empty dirty pools? Now, we are here right now, creating a new perspective, because something else was not sustainable, and its ruins give space to us.


Ohtel probably makes way more sense to replace the concept of sustainability with biodegradability. Views Read Edit View history. On one of my walks through the forest, I suddenly remembered something about Robert Smithson and Palenque.

Robert Smithson

Cheating gravity, Smithson gently mocked the flat-earth school of exegesis. To me that means to cultivate a little surrogate for our lost paradise in the reality of civilisation. When you past the peak of a certain existence, give space for the new!

Mexico proofed to be a great ground for those kinds of studies. The term is being applied to all kind of things, product, organisms, ideas, whatsoever. Machines like dinosaurs must return to dust or rust.

The concept of work is simply less important here and the concept of economic growth continues to be rather a colonist one. Agriculture has to produce more than you can eat right away.

And so we too might surmise that the mortar of some unbuilt future is also the dust of an equally distant past, but in the end, and perhaps most satisfyingly, it is just a pile of cement-there to be dug for its cementness. Smithsons original presentation can be seen on ubuweb. smithxon

Robert Smithson’s Hotel Palenque | Harrell Fletcher

The calender of the Mayas was round, and it made a revolution double meaning! However, de la Barra has since visited the hotel again: I shot a little video of the guy who was just painting over the hotel sign in this very moment.

These images were reproduced as part of the artist’s essay “Incidents of Mirror Travel in the Yucatan”, in the September edition of Artforum Magazine. Smithson’s ‘Hotel Palenque’ “, greg.