Leon Chew Tin Foil Art
Hotel rooms have been mundane, interesting, unpleasant, memorable, artistic, creative and so much more, a traveler would know. We are quite cordially told to feel at home in a room that has quite literally been inhabited by many more before us and will continue to be inhabited by still more after we have left. Some hotels manage to leave a mark on the guests who stay in a positive light, some in a negative light, while some fail to make any kind of mark altogether, but the guests hardly ever leave any kind of mark on the employees. The guests are mostly just another person in a fixed room number, some more demanding than the other. However, in case of Leon Chew we can say confidently that he was the one who left an unmistakable mark on the hotel, quite literally!
Chew drew inspiration from Martin Kippenberger’s Hotel Drawings, which uses hotel stationery. He realized that the easily available materials like tin foil and tapes could be explored and exploited to create some interesting fun pop-ups. This was a material that is available globally and blended in pretty well with the whole concept of a hotel room.
Using what is already there, Chew uses sometimes geometric, sometimes sculptural and lighting gestures to create some expressive, abstract narratives. The quality of these sculptures is to blend in the room, while still being eye-catchy enough to make the viewers take a second look!
The artist has moved on from being local to global as he has already prepared numerous pieces in several hotels across different continents. On being asked, as he looks back, he has loved more hotels than one to name a favorite, but Tokyo is the city that allures the traveler in him.
His art is temporary but unique and the whole charm of it is in its transience and vulnerability. The hotels however do not complain as he leaves a generous tip for the housekeeping staff and am sure it adds some kind of a charm and variety to their mundane jobs!