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Farewell Waltz 

2021-2022, Multimedia Installation, painting, Photography, video (color, sound), 06'43'' 

Celebrating Atami’s hotel resort culture, Nimyu creates a site-specific installation using chairs from HOTEL ACAO ANNEX, investigating the relationship between lived-in and abandoned environments, human figures and their furnishing. 


The Farewell Waltz is a multi-sensorial and site-specific installation by Tokyo-based, Beijing-born artist Nimyu, presented in the Royal Suite 1420 of HOTEL ACAO ANNEX. Her installation stems from a year-long research about ACAO SPA & RESORT and Atami’s hotel construction history, when she participated in the first ATAMI ART GRANT in 2021. Taking the hotel’s chair designs as a point of departure, she created an immersive installation to rethink the role of furnishing with human presence. The Farewell Waltz gives multiple entries into experiencing the relationship between past and present and aims to recharge a hotel room with the energy of its past guests and today’s exhibition audience.


Atami is known for being an escape from Tokyo’s busy urban life. Many historic houses have been built in Atami to host Japanese elites, including the famous Kiunkaku House, built by Uchida Nobuya, a politician born in the Meiji period. After the 1960s, Atami’s hotels were famous for their opulent decor and access to onsen hot springs for the Japanese bubble-era leisure class. In her research, Nimyu explored the different hotels built around that period and found many of them closed, demolished, or turned into different hotel brands. 


Her installation stems from an investigation into the furnishings of HOTEL ACAO ANNEX and the histories they hold. HOTEL ACAO ANNEX, part of ACAO SPA & RESORT, was first opened to the public in 1973. It stands as an architectural wonder, a rare hotel in Atami which built directly out unto the ocean. Its furnishings mirrored its grandiose structure and construction method –fifty years later, we can only imagine the fantastic parties, weddings, and leisure time experienced by the hotel guests during its glory years.


Nimyu’s The Farewell Waltz is a celebration in four sensorial parts. The first series of works are photographs of chairs, taken in various places throughout HOTEL ACAO ANNEX. Hanging from the ceiling, the photograph prints showcase dining chairs arranged in circles in an empty swimming pool and on the hotel’s garden and rooftop premises. Taking them out of their original context, the chairs come alive again, dancing in a waltz, mirroring the guests who used to sit on them at dinner parties and gatherings. 


Second, Nimyu’s large painting celebrates anonymous, imaginary hotel guests, showing signs of the hotel’s past and human presence. Reflecting back on The Farewell Waltz, these hotel guests seem like they enjoyed their last gathering together and are getting ready to say goodbye. A sense of nostalgia enters the room. 


Third, the audience is invited to step inside the Royal Suite’s bathroom to find an Augmented Reality (AR) filter of a dining chair found in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX. Scanning the QR code below will lead you to access the AR filter on your smartphone, to take a photo of the chair and activate it with utility and wonder. For this installation, the artist would like to bring some lightheartedness and joy to the audience, making them interact with the chair in a new light and perspective using technological advances.


Finally, Nimyu has created a special perfume named Farewell for this installation. Also playing in the background is a compilation of blues music from the 1970s, referring back to the title of the exhibition “East-East: UAE meets Japan Vol.5, Atami Blues” and Donald Richie’s short film Atami Blues (1962). By adding these sensorial elements, the viewer is expected to enter and leave this room, filled with a certain feeling of a grand past and promised future. 

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