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Atelier Sul Mare

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As far as I know, dozing off in a museum is highly frowned upon, because if there's one place that's criticized for it's righteous refinement, it's the art world. However, there is an exception to this rule, a place where the etiquette book flies right out window and into the Mediterranean.

The curators of Atelier Sul Mare not only condone a solid slumber session, they encourage it.

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The art museum doubling as a hotel is a rare breed, and by rare I mean this Sicilian inn is the only one of it's kind. Atelier Sul Mare is a hotel because there are 40 guest rooms, and it's a museum because 18 of them are contemporary art spaces.

Antonio Presti, a dynamic Italian arts patron, has taken it upon himself to gather a handful of the world's most innovative artists and create a space that blurs the line between abstraction and actuality by inviting guests to live and function within the context of art.

Atelier Sul Mare

Maybe I'm overthinking this. Basically, he wants art to belong to everyone.

Let's take “La Stanza del Profeta” for example. This room is Presti's homage to artist and friend Pier Paolo Pasolini. A Pasolini poem graces the front door. A labyrinth-like corrider made of straw and mud leads to the Yemeninte room, inspired by his film, “Flower of the Arabian Nights”. The large bed opens up to a cinematic view of the sea and brings up a powerful image in Andrea Mantegna's “Christ Deposition.” The shower roof is covered by pipes and ventilators, creating a a feeling of being in a car-wash. This references the way Pasolini was crushed and killed underneath his own car.

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Other rooms are just as thought provoking. The reception's walls are lined with newspaper and magazine clippings of Presti's projects. A room designed by the Chilean filmmaker Raul Ruiz is tower-like, circular, and painted all black with only a round bed in the center. There are no windows except for a trapdoor in the ceiling. The dark room can be taken to connote self-entrapment, and the ceiling opening the possibility for self-liberation.

Atelier Sul Mare

The hotel sits elegantly on the Mediterranean coast in Castel di Tusa, a quiet outpost near Cefalu. And here's something to note; Presti has been known to use his art as a political statement. The local council has a strong distaste for him, and there are even rumors that the Mafia bombed his hotel, but hey, it's Sicily; thats the charm


Images Courtesy Copyright © Atelier Sul Mare

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