Monday, March 16, 2015

Great ... if you know (where) to look at the Peninsula Hotel!

I wonder how many people who pass by the area actually spot 
Richard Wilson's art installation up on the Peninsula Hotel! :O

The day before I went to Art Basel - Hong Kong 2015 over on the other side of Victoria Harbour, I happened to be walking about in Tsim Sha Tsui, including in the area where the iconic Peninsula Hotel is located.  As I neared it, I got to remembering that I had read about an art installation involving a bus looking like it was teetering on the edge of one of the hotel's roofs being set up ahead of the launch of this year's edition of Art Basel -- and so knew to look up and look for British artist Richard Wilson's The Italian Job (1969)-inspired work. 

Forewarned to expect to see it, the sight of that incongrous and amusing spectacle got me smiling.  But judging from their bemused reactions, others around me who caught sight of the Hong Kong version of Wilson's "Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea..." piece (whose first incarnation had been at Bexhill during the 2012 London Festival within the Cultural Olympiad) were far less prepared for the sight, and did not have the most positive reactions to it!
Then there were the even larger numbers of passers-by who just did not spot the art installation hanging several meters above.  Perhaps the Peninsula Hotel is too much of a fixture on the Hong Kong landscape for most locals to think to glance at it as they walk by.  As for many of the tourists, I gather that quite a few of them make it a point to go have afternoon tea at the hotel, even if they don't stay there, but don't think to pay much attention to the exterior of the building.
On a personal note: I've never been to afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel -- and the thought never seemed attractive to me, both in my tourist and Hong Kong resident days.  (Maybe it has to do with my having enjoyed my share of afternoon teas in England -- and Anglophile places like Ye Olde Smokehouse in Malaysia's Cameron Highlands -- already and tending to prefer to partake of dim sum in Hong Kong rather than English-style afternoon tea!)

On a visit to the Big Lychee for the Hong Kong International Film Festival some years back though, two Hong Kong movie fan friends (one from the US and another from Turkey) and I did go and have drinks one evening at Felix . And, for the record: yes, we did go check out its infamous toilets -- male (inadvertently, and thank goodness there were men there doing their business at the time!) as well as female (which have unusual elements of their own but definitely aren't as creatively designed as those for the men)!  

Since moving to Hong Kong, I've only been to the Peninsula for a work function -- and have also dropped in to use its toilets... the one on a lower floor rather than the ones at Felix!  And yes, they are indeed very nice -- though, of course, I wouldn't go out of my way to check them out!!  And -- here's linking back to the subject in the earlier part of the blog -- it's true enough that if you don't know to look for them, you won't spot them as they're not in the most obvious of places! ;b


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I guess only film buffs who enjoyed the original Italian Job would appreciate this piece.

I still mumble the 'You're only supposed to blow the blood doors off...' line some times.....


Anonymous said...

This is the self preservation society........


YTSL said...

Hi T --

Wow, seems like someone really loves "The Italian Job" (1969). If so, get thee quick to the area around the Peninsula Hotel to check out that art installation which the movie inspired! ;b