The show in seven photographs takes place between nine characters, in one day, from dusk to dawn. The characters are divided into two groups: the hotel service representing society, and the guests, high politics. The main inspiration is the painting by Théodore Géricault "Medusa Raft" commemorating the events that took place 17 years after the French Revolution.
The tragedy happened during the voyage of the frigate "La Méduse" off the coast of Senegal. The ship hit the reefs and began to sink. Since there were only a few lifeboats available, the captain ordered the construction of a huge raft that could accommodate crew members, soldiers, and passengers. Senior officers, the captain, and the governor were given lifeboats to tow a raft with around 200 survivors using ropes. Unfortunately, in no time, all lifeboats cut the ropes, leaving the survivors on the raft to their tragic fate. During the ensuing two-week struggle for life, dantesque scenes took place. Only a dozen survived. The Gericault painting depicts the moment when the shipwrecked saw the ship "Argus" on the horizon, heralding their survival. The drama of the scene, however, is built by a dark and ominous wave coming from the left side of the painting, which eliminates the chances of rescue, and becomes a harbinger of their imminent death. The man in the red hood in the foreground is Delacroix — a painter and friend of Gericault. He was depicted as a man who had given up hope; the great idea of the French Revolution, which perished without return on the raft.

The “Medusa Raft” and Hotel Medusa” scenarios are similar — they both start with an idea, which is followed by betrayal, fight, fall, death, helplessness. The difference is that when the Gericault painting shows the end of the story, in Hotel Medusa the story does not end, but begins anew. 
The photos contain many hints and references to the figures of European painting, allowing for a deeper "touch" of the meaning of the presented story. They remind us of the cyclical nature of events.
The use of classic elements in the scenery and the entire palette of colors transfers the attributes of French romantic painting to the modern world. In the series "Hotel Medusa", the classic style transforms into the romantic period of French painting. It is a deliberate and symbolic reference to a great idea and its downfall.
The perspective of the photos refers to the performance watched on the theater stage. This also emphasizes the cyclical nature — the same performances have been repeated for centuries in theaters around the world. The viewer becomes a witness of inevitably unfolding events.
Such a convention of a photographic story allows one to look at the story from a different perspective, provoking one’s own analysis and conclusions.
Everything has already happened, names and places are changing. The only question is — at what moment of the history cycle are we now?
The Hotel Medusa I
In the first part, the waiters prepare the stage to receive the guests. There are two important elements. The first one is self-adhesive traps with glued on flies hanging from a chandelier - the symbol becomes meaningful after watching the whole story; it refers to the cyclical nature of the events presented.
The second element is the lost coin under the chair on the right - like the flies, it is a combination of what has already happened and what is to come...
2012 photography, limited edition 8 + 2AP, Print on the cotton Fine Art paper, 940×1850 mm, without borders 740×1650 mm
The Hotel Medusa II
The hotel staff continues to prepare, and the waiters find the coin. If we look closely, it turns out that it is a coin from the time of Gaius Julius Caesar - this reference is a warning against what is to come.
Waiters do not ask themselves how the coin got under the chair. It is enough that it is valuable, unique...
2012 photography,, Limited edition 8 + 2AP, Print on the cotton Fine Art paper, 940×1850 mm, without borders 740×1650 mm
The Hotel Medusa III
The guests, the superpowers that decide the fate of the world, sit down at the table. In some of the characters presented, further warnings can be seen. The symbol of Europe is a woman whose stylization refers to Marie Antoinette (1) by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. The first fly appears on her collarbone. The Russian is the "Multiplied Portrait" of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (2), the American is the famous figure from the poster "I want you!".
The Asian is the only character with an as yet unclear role. These references lead to a deeper analysis of the presented characters. There are piles of coins on the table, exactly as the waiters found them. This comparison shows the scale of differences between the everyday life of an ordinary person and the world of politics.
2012 photography, limited edition 7/8 + 2AP, Print on the cotton Fine Art paper, 940×1850 mm, without borders 740×1650 mm
The Hotel Medusa IV
The game has started. The Arab is the last to join the table. The Asian turns out to be the dealer. The costumes of both of these characters bring the story up to date. On the left, the waitress finds the ace of hearts on the ground, discovering that someone is cheating...
Her portrait refers to Eugene Delacroix's "Orphan in the Cemetery" (3), which is directly related to the artist's "Massacre on Chios". This becomes extremely telling. It announces what will happen in the next part of the play. Flies gather under the chandelier.
2012 photography, limited edition 8 + 2AP, Print on the cotton Fine Art paper, 940×1850 mm, without borders 740×1650 mm
The Hotel Medusa V
When deception is discovered, they all fight among themselves. The first victim appears - he is lying on the ground on the left side of the composition, the position of the body refers to two paintings: "The third of May 1808" by Francisco Goya and "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso (4).
In "Hotel Medusa", the victim, by closing his hands, does not let see the stigmata - the symbol of innocence, as is the case in the paintings quoted above. Are you sure they are there?
2012 photography, limited edition 8 + 2AP, Print on the cotton Fine Art paper, 940×1850 mm, without borders 740×1650 mm
The Hotel Medusa VI
The scene after the fight. The American and the Russian have been presented in a mirror image, and the prototype for the arrangement of their bodies was the meaningful painting "The Death of Marat" by Jacques-Louis David (5). In the lower right corner, in the shadows, you can see the Asian's hand — this is "The Fall of Icarus" by Pieter Bruegel (6).
At the bottom, in the central part of the composition, there is a dead waitress lying on the ground, she is the only character who has not been filled with flies. It is a symbolic representation of the real victims of this tragedy — us, society.
2012 photography, limited edition 8 + 2AP, Print on the cotton Fine Art paper, 940×1850 mm, without borders 740×1650 mm
The Hotel Medusa VII
In the Hotel Medusa, the figure evoking the message of the Medusa Raft by Théodore Géricault is the woman in the last, seventh photo. With her hands in a gesture of helplessness, she becomes a symbol of the failure of an idea. The styling refers to the Renaissance portrait of Cecilia Gallerani by Leonardo da Vinci, known as "The Lady with an Ermine", but here the symbolic ermine, and in fact, the lover (Prince of Milan Ludovico Sforza) was taken away, condemning the heroine to a life without hope and love.
The entire cycle is dedicated to society. Three possible endings of the story are presented. The first — the waiters in the third photo break the vicious circle and leave on time. The second — the death of the waitress in the sixth photo. The final ending becomes the maid, whose task will be to start the story cycle all over again. A huge number of flies are circling under the chandelier, which will be caught in the next installment of this story — Hotel Medusa I.
2012 photography, limited edition 8 + 2AP, Print on the cotton Fine Art paper, 940×1850 mm, without borders 740×1650 mm
1. Maria Antonina appears at the Hotel Medusa as a symbol of modern Europe, full of political correctness. In particular, the comparison concerns the story when the Queen, mounting the stairs the scaffold, tripped over the leg of her executioner. Bowing with great courtesy, she apologized to her tormentor who cut off her head a moment later.
2.  Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy) - an eminent Polish painter, draftsman, dramatist, writer. The presented reference relates to a photograph from around 1916, when the artist served the Tsarist Guard in St. Petersburg. "The Multiplied Portrait" tends to be wrongly referred to as a self-portrait - Witkacy in the picture shows only his reflections in the mirrors, thus sitting with his back to the viewer, he gains full control over how he wants to present himself. On September 18, 1939, the artist, when he found out about the entry of the Red Army into Poland, committed suicide, realizing the cruelty of the Russians. This photograph became the starting point for considering the character of the Russian person at the “Hotel Medusa”.
3. "Orphan Girl at the Cemetery" by Eugene Delacroix. The aforementioned portrait of a gypsy woman is a study of the artist's monumental painting - "The Chios Massacre", reminding us of the cruelty that a human being can perpetrate. In order to exact revenge, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Greek island of Chios, slaughtering the local population. 20,000 inhabitants were killed in a month. About 50-60 thousand people were deported deep into Turkey. "Orphan Girl at the Cemetery", just like the waitress in the "Hotel Medusa" who finds an additional card, reveals with her expression what will soon take place.
4. In the painting "The Third of May 1808" Francisco Goya cited the story of the execution of 104 inhabitants of Madrid who rebelled against Napoleon's rule. In the painting, on the left, Goya placed the group of those about to be executed, and in the center of them a man in a white shirt with his arms spread wide. The man is ready to receive the shot, to die in the name of his own ideals. There are stigmas on his hands - a symbol of purity and sacrifice. This painting became an inspiration for Pablo Picasso. The artist commemorated the bombing of the Basque city of Guernica by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy on April 26, 1937. As a result, the city was razed to the ground. According to estimates by the then Basque government, 1,654 inhabitants died that day. One of the figures of Picasso in the painting "Guernica", a soldier lying on the left side of the composition, was shown with outstretched arms referring to the crucifixion as in the case of "The Third of May 1808", and on his hand is a stigma.
5. Jacques-Louis David in the painting "The Death of Marat" commemorates the murder of Jean-Paul Marat, one of the bloodiest leaders of the French Revolution. The story was cited in the "Hotel Medusa" both because of the multidimensional aspect of the portrayed subject himself, the symbolic composition of the painting, but above all because of the story of Charlotte Corday, his killer. During the court case, when she was asked about the cause of the crime, replied that she could no longer look as this person destroying her country with impunity, and knowing that she would answer for her act, recognized that France was a higher good for which it was worth suffering the consequences and giving her life for.
6. In the painting "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" Pieter Bruegel the Elder referred to the Flemish proverb "No plowman stops working because of the death of a man”. The artist presented the drama of Icarus, whose death went unnoticed, ignored by the surroundings depicted in the painting. In "Hotel Medusa" the hand placed on the shore to the right of the composition, is not only a metaphor for the life of an individual but also a warning against indifference to the fate of entire nations.


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