Julia Calfee: Inside the Chelsea Hotel

12 September - 12 October 2012 - Level 4

From 12 September through 12 October, 2012 Art Plural Gallery presented the first exhibition by Julia Calfee in Singapore. The exhibition, titled Inside the Chelsea Hotel, exhibited photographs documenting the state of mind that has existed in that unique place In New York City - the legendary residence for artists, writers and musicians.


“The Chelsea Hotel is a place where excess is welcome, where the psyche can be annihilated or resurrected. It has a magical potential for transformation, whether it be rebirth or destruction. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix, William S. Burroughs, Stanley Kubrick, Mark Twain, Edith Piaf, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jasper Johns, Jack Kerouac, Willem de Kooning, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and countless others have been drawn Inside the Chelsea Hotel by a seemingly irresistible magnetic force,” the artist recounts.


From 2003 until 2008 Julia Calfee has been living mainly in New York City's Hotel Chelsea. The years she spent in the Chelsea Hotel were a visual quest for the unifying elements of the people who chose to live in this place and the ghosts who still lurk in its shadows.


As Julia Calfee describes, “When I photographed at the Chelsea Hotel, I would stay in a space or situation for hours. Time would pass and my presence would become less and less visible. Sometimes I would even disappear.”


This long term project has become a well-acclaimed book ‘Inside the Chelsea Hotel’ published by power House Books New York in 2008 and now to be considered as reference book on this hotel which has existed for over 120 years. This is the subject of the exhibition at Art Plural Gallery with large format photos depicting the life inside of this legendary hotel with its strange atmosphere and even stranger inhabitants who no longer exist today as the Chelsea hotel has been sold and now stands empty on the 23rd Street in New York City. This photo exhibition is a visual way of understanding the intimate life style of the artist and celebrities who spent years in this hotel.


“Julia Calfee’s work is a homage to the creativity, eccentricity and talent of the souls who suffered, loved and bled for their art. Julia Calfee is immensely inspiring and we are very proud to distil her artistic sensibility to the Singapore’s art scene,” comments Frédéric de Senarclens, Founder and Director of Art Plural Gallery.