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For the past week, Daniel Arsham has been immersed in an art residency program at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, in collaboration with the international online gallery The Artling. Immersed in a serene seaside landscape, he dedicated his time to getting back to the basics, creating drawings rooted in his crystallized erosion focus and inspired by the oceanic atmosphere.
These works add to Patina’s growing focus on the arts, adding to its existing collection of not-miss works at the hotel, including the Amarata skyspace by James Turrell and the Home Deep Blue tapestry by Hiroko Takeda.
After this special program, Arsham’s artworks will be shown in an exhibition at the property for three months. Visitors to Patina will then gain special access to a preview sale of the artworks before they are available to the public on theartling.com.
Whitewall spoke with Arsham, as well as The Artling’s founder and CEO Talenia Phua Gajardo and its gallery director Kim Tay to hear how this residency fostered creativity beyond the remote island coast.
WHITEWALL: Why did you want to host Daniel Arsham for a residency?
TALENIA PHUA GAJARDO & KIM TAY: Daniel Arsham is an artist today who is really permeating all categories of artist creation and is incredibly relevant in terms of how art is evolving. He has worked with some of the most exciting names and is constantly pushing himself to try new things; be it large-scale sculptures, NFTs, fashion collaborations, and more. Thus, when we were discussing ideas at the start of the project, Daniel's name was on top of our list.
The concepts which he explores through his works are in perfect alignment with Patina's core pillar of Perpetuality, and we can't wait to see what his time on the island will bring. Presenting his works in the context of the Maldives will also create an interesting dichotomy between the natural erosion in his works and the verdant environment of Patina.
WW: What are you most looking forward to about having him at the property?
TPG & KT: We are most looking forward to seeing how he will interact and respond to his surroundings, and how that may affect his work. The island is very special in that one can really retreat into solitude from the world, or roam and explore freely, interacting with others at the Fari Village.
WW: What are some surprising facts about the Maldives, or the property, that you'd like prospective guests to know?
TTPG & KT: Patina has art and creativity at its core, with a strong collection of artworks from artists around the world placed across the island. Guests can explore these artworks at their own leisure, including renowned artist James Turrell's Skyspace, a mirrored installation work by Chinese artist Hongjie Yang and many more. We'd love for guests to explore and discover these pieces on their journey of exploration on the island!
WW: Daniel, can you tell us a bit about what we can expect to see from your residency with Patina? Will you be creating any new works during this time?
DANIEL ARSHAM: With such a remote location, it seemed like the most logical thing to be creating there were drawings, which are already a large part of my practice. I’m bringing some paper and some supplies, and I'll be creating these drawings there in a small studio on the property.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about the events you're hosting/participating in while at the property?
DA: I'll be hosting a couple of people as they come through. The resort is quite small, so there will be a couple of times where people can come in and hang out in the studio space and see me and learn about the works. I'll also be doing a lecture on my work, which is a pretty standard lecture that I've given at my university [Cooper Union]. For people who know my work, I think it shows a lot of the background behind it; and for people who are unfamiliar with it, it's a way to enter the work.
WW: How will you take advantage of the balance of sanctuary and stimulation?
DA: I think the idea of a tropical location to create work, having grown up in Florida in Miami, always feels familiar to me, so I'm happy to be back in a place like that and creating new pieces.
WW: Last time we spoke amid the pandemic, you mentioned you returned to painting. Are you working on any new paintings now, or working with any other mediums?
DA: I have returned to painting as well as drawing. I think within the studio practice, there's always sort of ebbs and flows in terms of my interest in certain mediums. Right now, I think painting and drawing have been my main focus. There are a number of new series paintings that I'm exploring now, as well as a new type of paint that I've been using, which is much more textural.
WW: Does being a father impact your work, or your view of your work?
DA: Certainly. Watching how my boys interact with the world, how they see so many things that exist in our surroundings as objects of play for them. This has always been something to try to remember as an adult, how the world can be playful, and how we might treat it that way.
WW: You recently ventured into the metaverse. What do you envision the future of this space looking like?
DA: I think the NFT space is really interesting. In its ability to create things specifically that cannot exist in the real world, or should I say the physical world. All of the sculptural work that I've created as NFTs are not static objects; they are something that evolves over time. In entering that space, it was important to me that I considered it as a medium, like sculpture or painting or photography, that it would be something that was different from my traditional studio practice. If not, I didn't really see a point in entering it.
WW: What are you working on this year?
DA: I'm looking forward to more projects in 2022. In 2022, I have a number of large-scale exhibitions, one of which just opened in Tokyo in five different locations around the city. I’m working on a couple of big projects in London, and the UK, in general. We just launched a new book (Sketchbook) with Princeton University Press in association with No More Rulers, which combines 20 years of sketchbooks that I've always kept, and showcases some of my notes and drawings and how I built the studio practice. We also have another significant NFT project coming up and some exciting collaborations as well.