Do Auberge ArtSalon "Too Tired to Sleep"
Auberge ArtSalon “Too Tired to Sleep” Marie-Claude Marquis: An immersive art experience inspired by Mayflower Inn & Spa
It is often said that artists hold up a mirror to society. If this is the case, then their art serves as a prism through which we can view the times we live in, often from an entirely new perspective. In the Auberge ArtSalon series, six emerging artists will turn their own unique gaze on six iconic Auberge retreats to create art installations that reflect each property’s individual character, setting, heritage, and place in the world today.
At Mayflower Inn & Spa in Connecticut’s idyllic town of Washington, multidisciplinary Canadian artist, Marie-Claude Marquis, has transformed the library of this bucolic country manor into a whimsical time warp of found objects to play with the notion of being ‘Too Tired to Sleep’ and hint at its antidote. Here we speak to Marie-Claude to learn more about her installation and its inspiration.
What is it about Mayflower Inn & Spa (physical or otherwise) that appeals to you on an artistic level?
So many things! The nature around it is amazing, and I was lucky that all the flowers were in bloom for my trip. The gardens are super well designed with a magnificent variety of plants. The décor of the main building is also really inspiring, and some rooms reminded me of my own work vibe. The space has bold and busy designs, but everything works extremely well together and is really well thought through.
Why do you think that you were chosen as the artist for Mayflower?
I think it was my aesthetic that particularly attracted the hotel, since we share a love for antiques, and well-chosen elements of florals, patterns, and bright colors. I think it was a good match.
How did you come up with the concept of ‘Too Tired to Sleep’?
The weird year and a half that has just passed, during which we were forced to slow down our lifestyles, made me realize that we had been idealizing being busy. In these recent circumstances, we were often bored, but we got used to doing less, and for the first time in my life, my FOMO (fear of missing out) was gone, which was a huge relief. Now, returning to normal life is pretty stressful for many people. I don’t believe that we have to go back to the same rhythm as before. We have to choose ourselves over performance, both at work and on social media platforms.
The installation ‘Too Tired to Sleep’ addresses the glorification of busyness and the importance of taking a pause and allowing ourselves, without guilt, the mental space we need to avoid burnout. I really think that it is now essential to prioritize our inner lives, take care of ourselves and feed our souls with connections and experiences more than with things. We must also step back from the idealization of being ‘super busy’ and listen to our feelings to avoid an inevitable physical and emotional fatigue. We need to go back to a certain slowness. This many feel counterproductive in our consumerist society, but in the end, it will be more rewarding.
Why did this concept feel particularly apt for Mayflower?
I think that taking care of ourselves is exactly what we can do at Mayflower. It’s a place where we can share, connect, take time for ourselves, and live slowly.
How do the items that you have collected, created, and curated for the installation reflect the concept ‘Too Tired to Sleep’?
The installation puts forward, in a playful way, my take on selfcare. At first, the artwork can be seen as an eclectic, kitsch, and humorous whole, but when you get closer you may notice that each shelf is subtly dedicated to a certain theme: food, time, self-reflection, sleeping, animals, and breathing. Food, because it’s a precious element for body and soul. Sharing a meal is one of the best connectors between people. Time is great wealth, since the older you get, the faster it passes and the less you have. Self-reflection, because avoidance won’t lead anywhere. To ask ourselves questions, face what we feel, and understand who we are is the work of a lifetime, but it makes us better humans. Sleeping, since it recharges us, and is also the weirdest and best concept ever: we close our eyes, switch off, and go into alternate worlds and lives. Animals, because they are pure and good for the soul. They never judge, don’t care about how you look, and they see inside of you. And finally breathing, as we too often forget this simple thing that can totally change your day and stress level.
How did you go about choosing each item for the installation? Is it an intuitive process, or more planned?
It’s a mix of both! I always start with a written concept to have a coherent framework, but my gut feeling is really important when creating something. I explore flea markets and thrift stores and crush on particular items. Even if the guideline of the project helps me focus on specific symbols, it is often hard to explain why some objects catch my eye and others leave me completely indifferent. It is really by feeling that it happens.
How do you imagine that guests will experience the installation? Would you say that your intention is to reveal our need to slow down, or is it perhaps to provide the slowing down that we need?
A good question! I hope they find some parts funny and some moving. The work can be received by the spectator in its entirety, but if the users want to live the experience more slowly, which I encourage, they will have to get closer and absorb all the little things and read all the sentences. As in a cabinet of curiosities, it is in the small details that they will better understand the subject and make their own personal interpretations.
Are there any aspects of the installation that guests will be able to take home with them (other than their impressions)?
Yes, the hand painted plates are for sale, but like in a gallery show, they have to stay in the installation for the entirety of the show (one year). There are also limited-edition paper prints of three plates of the show (edition of 30, numbered and signed), and the scatter cushions can be purchased.
If you could choose one late, great icon to experience your installation then join you for a meal in The Garden Room or The Tap Room (or a coffee/drink in the garden by the pool), who would it be and why?
I would definitely say Anthony Bourdain. Sharing a moment and a meal with him, learning from his travels, adventures, and encounters would be so inspiring. It would be the best thing ever.