The Hyatt Regency Hotel – the Churchill is an opulent building and - judging by the foyer – the temporary abode to influential luncheons, affluent overnight guests and now: a titular sculpture sitting congruously near the lifts as part of One Giant Leap.
On loan from renowned Saatchi gallery, the structure is part of a partnership between the aforementioned gallery and corporate patron the Hyatt. Works from the Saatchi have been displayed throughout the hotel. Killing two birds with one stone, One Giant Leap advertises the prestige and au fait nature of the London art scene to, presumably, the high-volume of non-Londonites moving in and out of the swish revolving doors. The partnership is also the first step in tackling hoteliers’ usual pitiful selection of art to decorate their rooms and hallways.
The guest of honour in the lobby is a slightly denaturing, melting hippo. The hippopotamus, created by Christina Mackie, stands grazing under the subtle and elegant lampshades and a photograph entitled You Blew My Mind, taken by Hayley Newman. The array of artworks on display include young artist Celine Fitoussi’s soap instillation, placed in a suite’s luxury bathroom, and Martin Honert’s Riesen, a gargantuan sculpture of two bearded giants.
The resulting effect in the treasure hunt of paintings and instillations are refreshingly, and in contrast to the hotel, contemporary, including Steve Bishop’s Jean-Paul Gaultier – Classique (Arctic Fox) and Robin Cho’s interactive knocking door, We know this but we just don’t know how to show it. Then again, it is nothing we wouldn’t already expect from a Saatchi provided collection of work.
Removing the artwork from the conventional and fixed confines of a gallery space rests in between a liberating communication of art, and glorified instance of interior design. One Big Step is more of a publicity-whipping than a welcome space for visitors curious for art. The Limited Edition Saatchi Suite, where the majority of art is exhibited, is an extravagant £700. Less of a facilitation of the enjoyment of art, as many would argue is the purpose of the gallery, more of an indulgence. Still, the paupers can remain in the lobby with the humble old hippopotamus.