The aim was to make a picture about sexual fantasies.
At first sight one can see an impressionant building constructed on water but when you come closer "different" views are revealed...
The Love Hotel, a photographic peepshow
Who wouldn’t want to be a fly on a wall? To have the ability to be inside all the different rooms of an apartment building? With this concept photographer Frank De Mulder presents us with a new piece of art, that a copy of has already been placed in the CODA museum in Apeldoorn in Holland. A nice “icing on the cake” for the renowned photographer.
FDM: “One night I drove into the city of Gent. From the bridge I was on, I had a view of various different apartments. All of them featured flickers of light here and there and I realized how interesting it would be at that point to witness a sex scene in progress. From there the idea grew to portray a hotel with snapshots of the array of possible kinky scenes in each room. In the end, this idea really resulted in a bundle of vibrant love scenes that you can observe while satisfying an underlying guilty pleasure.”
JV: What story does The Love Hotel describe/tell?
FDM: “The attention is first drawn towards the beautiful architecture: a semi-open concrete construction houses the rooms that are presented as display windows. The building is mounted on the water, and only connected to the “real world” by means of a narrow bridge. This way we created an almost untouchable world. Comparable to our own dream world, which isn’t real either, only connected to our conscience by means of a little string. And let’s not forget the fancy cars in the garage that – in a very cliché way – fit together with the beautiful women.”
JV: At first sight, the picture could put you on the wrong foot. Why is that?
FDM: “From a distance it is mainly the extraordinary architecture of the building and its enchanting surroundings that catch the eye. When you approach the picture, the different rooms become clearer. These rooms reveal a sort of peepshow. My associate Michèle Van Damme and I deliberately decided the hotel should be portrayed by night. Our aim was to showcase as much diversity in sexual behavior as possible; each room was given the look of an innocent window display. I like to surprise people (smiles).”
JV: How did you create this?
FDM: “We started with a blank sheet of paper. Fantasy was our guide. The architect Benny Govaert (of Govaert & Vanhoutte Architects) designed the non-existent building specifically for this project. Subsequently the architect and his 3D assistant Michael Lammens designed a room. We then rebuilt this room in the studio where the real production work started. We created the scenes, casted the models, etc. Unfortunately however, we later learned that the work could not be shown in a smaller size and it required a format of at least 220 x 180 cm. We hadn’t foreseen that this would become a very difficult task technically. We were wrong.
JV: The artwork was given the name ‘The Love Hotel’. Can we talk about love here?
FDM: “I longed for a sexual piece of art that showed passion, indulgence and variation. That is why the hotel showcases love scenes in all regards, both physically and emotionally. In one room you see a man sensually placing a necklace around his wife’s neck. In another, two women are lovingly kissing each other. The Love Hotel shows sex as it is; an everyday happening in all its glory. There’s the hooker awaiting her client in the red light district, the exhibitionist woman who reveals herself in front of her apartment window. Or there’s even the man and woman who are passionately making love. All these characters are part of The Love Hotel. All these characters are part of life.
JV: Compared to your other work, this piece of art is more sexual. Don’t you agree?
FDM: “That is correct, but because the pictures are so small it is more acceptable. I would never publish the rooms as enlarged photos. The sex has a function, comparable to functional sex in a movie. Voyeurism is central in this work. It’s an aspect you can see in the actual structure of the building. The colours encourage people to look. The rooms’ light draws you in by themselves.”
JV: It’s a real colouring book. Why?
FDM: “My whole career has been mainly based on black & white photography. Now that I chose colour, I wanted to go all the way. Together with Michèle, we decided to go over the top. This resulted in a large colour pallet.
JV: Are you happy about the result?
FDM: “It’s wonderful to see the first reactions. “What a wonderful piece of architecture, built on the water and with beautiful colours.” And when they approach, they see the different scenes in the rooms. It’s great to see the astonishment on everyone’s face and the twinkle in their eyes (smiles). But the work we had to put into it cannot be underestimated. Especially with the combination of 3D and ‘real-life’ - it was no easy task. It was challenging enough to get the models to do what we wanted them to. Luckily, everyone was very motivated to bring it to a great end. That is why we are very grateful to everyone, and really happy that it is now exposed in the CODA museum.”
Concept and photography: Frank De Mulder & Michèle Van Damme
Architectural design : Benny Govaert
3d rendering : Michael Lammens
The video : Tim Blancke
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