Commissioned as an exclusive gift for special friends of The London EDITION, Mat Collishaw's work Prosopopoeia combines some of the artist's most iconic imagery while taking on a new perspective, speaking with a new voice. Collishaw: "Generally I make artworks for myself and the people who see them. (For Prosopopoeia) I've given a voice to the Hotel."
A large illuminated diamond slowly rotates before a black background. Within it, reflections of flowers - many of them Collishaw's beloved orchids - glitter and break up into prisms. The flowers catch fire, burn up, drown in luscious leafy green only to reappear in another rotation of the precious stone.
Form compliments function with the Hotel as subject, object, and exhibition space in mind: the symmetrical diamond shape against the black background potentially allows for the work to be displayed so as to appear magically within a space, as if afloat. The rotation of the diamond evokes the rotating doors of a traditional hotel, part adventure, part sanctuary. The soundtrack, composed by the artist's son, calls to mind the audio background found in many contemporary hotels when entering elevators, spas, or foyers - while simultaneously underlining distinctness between the environment outside the hotel and within. Collishaw: "The whole piece should represent the Hotel as a mysterious chrysalis emerging onto the scene."
Collishaw's artworks are famous for their depth and detail, and Prosopopoeia continues this trend: the rotating diamond becomes a prism through which lives are refracted. Prosopopoeia itself is defined as 'a figure of speech in which an imaginary or absent person is represented as speaking or acting'. It is a voice speaking for another, and serves as a metaphor for the Hotel's function as surrogate home. The concept of Prosopopoeia is entirely new, whereas the imagery is iconic: burning flowers that represent feelings and consummation of passion, reincarnation and rebirth.