West Dean College visual arts student Sarka Darton has transformed a London hotel room in a ground-breaking art project.
Czech-born Sarka, left, took part in ARTROOMS, rising to the challenge of creating an exhibition in the unique setting of a luxury hotel.
Sarka’s work went on display at the Melià White House Hotel, London, where she created a room called 197 Ways to be a Venus, a reference to the Dream of Venus pavilion designed by Salvador Dali for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.
Dali’s creation was supported, both financially and creatively, by Edward James, lifelong patron of the surrealists and founder of West Dean College where Sarka is studying for a master of fine arts degree.
“I had an email in September from the director of ARTROOMS 2015,” Sarka explains.
“She had found my work and wanted me to take part. She offered me a solo exhibition in one of the rooms. She has developed this new concept of exhibiting art in a homely environment, and that totally fitted into with my current inquiry. I have always been interested in the relationship between people and places and architecture.
“For me, the idea of creating an environment is absolutely essential. As an artist, you appreciate that a work of art can’t exist on its own. It can appear much stronger if it is in a good setting, and it would be perceived differently.
“So I thought how I could use this space. They allocated the room for me. Some of my art already existed, and I created some new pieces as well. It was a very nice room. It was homely already while at the same time being a hotel room. I wanted to give it some personality. I used my concept of working with time and space. I used thoughts of places I have lived in, and I also used some elements of the surrealist environment which I am now influenced by whilst I am studying at West Dean.
“I made paintings. I made sculptures. I made upholstery. I even made jewellery. It was all encompassing my experiences, my studies, my fine art and design background. I even made an animation film.”
Sarka has held a number of solo and joint exhibitions in the UK and abroad. Several of her works are held in private and corporate collections across the world, and a number of pieces have been recently shown in Pallant House Gallery, The Royal College of Art and La Galleria, Pall Mall Gallery, London.
“My aim in coming to West Dean College was to broaden my qualifications, learn new skills and expand my professional practice by building new contacts and relationships and I chose West Dean because of its uniqueness and outstanding reputation,” says Sarka.
“The inspiring setting and generous space means I am able to really focus on my studies and professional practice.”