Guest Relations

Guest Relations
Group exhibition

Bringing together artists’ works, archival and architectural research from across the Global South, ‘Guest Relations’ examines the historical, political, social and cultural transformations that accompany processes of intense touristification. Examining the transactional nature of modern hospitality, the exhibition centres hotels as a site of artistic investigation, tracing their origins in colonial grandeur and hubris to their current, often generic, ubiquity in the age of globalisation. Spaces of temporary residence, enclaves where complex relations and negotiations between guest and host play out, hotels provide visitors with the comfort and security of home in faraway lands.

‘Guest Relations’ responds to the context of Dubai, one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations in the world. Part of a broader strategy to ensure continued prosperity beyond fossil fuels, its model for urban development, driven by significant state and private investment in the hospitality industry, has been widely emulated. Through the second half of the 20th century, across the Gulf and beyond, hotels, many established by multinational chains, were treasured icons of modernity, vital, if somewhat exclusive, communal hubs that provided rare opportunities for leisure, consumption, and entertainment. Zones of exception, where practices outside social norms were permitted under the guise of tourism, they became magical portals to a cosmopolitan elsewhere.

Beyond hotels, ‘Guest Relations’ examines other key sites of the hospitality industry, such as airlines, cruise ships, amusement parks and social media platforms. Including loans from international museums, works from the Art Jameel Collection, archival interventions and new commissions, the exhibition traces histories of colonialism, nationalism, modernity, war and globalisation, and their intersections with labour and class, through the material and immaterial infrastructures of hospitality.

With works by Pio Abad, Nadi Abusaada, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Marwa Arsanios, Abdul Halik Azeez, Asma Belhamar, Sophie Calle, Tenzing Dakpa, Shezad Dawood, Meschac Gaba, Mario García Torres, Lamya Gargash, Mati Jhurry & Nabla Yahya, Hilmi Johandi, Ranjit Kandalgaonkar, Ahmed Mater, Hind Mezaina, Park Sunyoung & Lee Somi, Michael Rakowitz, Marwan Rechmaoui, Yiyo Tirado Rivera, Salma Serry, Taryn Simon, Svay Ken, Rayyane Tabet, Hale Tenger, Sung Tieu, Lantian Xie, Ala Younis

‘Guest Relations’ is curated by Murtaza Vali with Lucas Morin

Banner image: Hilmi Johandi, My Raffles Experience, 2019, oil on linen, 60 x 90 cm. © Hilmi Johandi. Collection of Daisuke Miyatsu. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts Singapore/Shanghai/Tokyo.