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AccorHotels and Liverpool Biennial commission artist to create a digital artwork for Pullman Liverpool

AccorHotels and Liverpool Biennial launch a new site-specific commission by award-winning Swiss-born artist Raphael Hefti
This May, AccorHotels and Liverpool Biennial launch a new site-specific commission by award winning Swiss-born artist Raphael Hefti. The artist has transformed part of Kings Dock into a makeshift foundry and film set, which will also function as a stage for a live performance. This commission marks the recent opening of Pullman Liverpool, the brand’s first new-build property in the UK.

During a special live performance on 19 May, invited guests will witness Hefti demonstrate his signature thermite welding technique, a dramatic process for melting and joining steel. The performance will be recorded from start to finish, and the resulting film will be screened in the Pullman hotel as a new artwork that same evening.

This week, Hefti began construction at his improvised outdoor studio built specifically for the project next to Pullman Liverpool, situated at Kings Dock on the world-famous waterfront and adjoining ACC Liverpool.

Hefti and his team are using a 80-tonne pile of sand as a makeshift foundry: lava-like flows of liquid metal will pour down the sand, sending sparks flying into the air. Hefti references heavy labour and iron casting, revealing the backbone of contemporary industry – processes that have long histories but that usually remain hidden.

Raphael Hefti said, “I am very excited to be in Liverpool to create a new artwork using a spectacular live process involving molten metal and giant heaps of sand. I am inviting hotel guests and residents to come along and witness the performance, which will result in a film broadcast throughout the new Pullman Liverpool hotel. ”

On Thursday 19 May, two weeks after Hefti first started work, hotel guests and residents will be able to view the performance and its accompanying film via in-room television screens and in the open plan lobby. The finished edit will complement the collection of carefully curated artwork already adorning the walls of the hotel in the form of dramatic large scale graphics, reflecting the hustle and bustle of docklands life.

The project is inspired by the story of a buoy that washed up on Form by Beach in January 2015, thought to have broken free from its mooring in strong winds. For Hefti, this huge metal buoy came to symbolise Liverpool’s maritime history as a crucial trading point throughout the 19th century. Using thermite welding – a technique invented for the reparation of train tracks – points to the instrumentality of the railway network and the Pullman mainline luxury railway service in securing the transportation of raw materials, finished goods and passengers between the Port of Liverpool and the rest of the country. As part of the process, he will construct a sculpture which will remain in the hotel as a legacy of the performance.

Pullman Hotels & Resorts have an unwavering commitment to design, art, photography and local culture and house an extensive, independent collection of art, which is on permanent display for guests and visitors to enjoy across their portfolio of international addresses. This project is one of the most ambitious yet and makes for an original and inspiring collaboration, continuing and broadening the Pullman Hotels & Resorts appeal and legacy with a highly influential and creative demographic.

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