Hotel Eden had long been a paradise for those who had the means, a refuge in which to relax and regain strength and health, a vantage point from which to admire the sun rising glorious over the nearby mountains, a starting point for hikes through forests and up rocky mountain slopes. Outside time, Eden would last for ever, everyone knew that. Yet imperceptibly, the world beyond its walls changed, customs and habits shifted, the rich migrated elsewhere for their paradise and money became rare.
Unwanted and untended, a collector of bric-a-brac, saw in Eden the very place to hoard his treasures. Each floor, every room, even the corridors and basements, were assigned their lot. One room was filled with hangers of starched army uniforms, quaint ladies shoes littered the floor, silk petticoats were draped over boxes full of discarded woolen jackets. Another contained disused office equipment, relics of the age of counting machines, filling cabinets full of all manner of secretarial treasures. Corridors were stocked from floor to ceiling with badly bound books, collections of out-dated encyclopedias, detective series, comic books, … Saucepans, pots, cutlery, glasses of every shape and size were piled haphazardly on shelves that criss-crossed the room while much broken glass littered the floor.
With time, rain had forced its way through the roof, plants followed suit, and water dripped through plaster and fell on wooden floors till whole sections crashed unheard to the floor below. Vandals smashed the few remaining panes of glass that were still intact. Shadowy people came and went carrying off their bounty. Some lit a fire in the basement, scorching the white-washed stone walls, others made films leaving their decor stranded like an invitation to dream.
And dream people did. Some had Eden reduced to rubble to build a tourist complex. Others has it transformed into a rich hotel like in its heyday, though many had doubts about its would-be clients. While others dreamed of it becoming a centre for the arts and culture, a place of creation and exchange.
This exhibition is not a documentary of the Fall of Eden. Rather, it is a sideways glance at what remains, hopefully granting a glimpse of beauty concealed in the destruction and decay or capturing fleeting memories, seen as the faint traces of people’s past.