The historic, notorious, derelict San Remo on Camp Street in Cape Town, will soon be transformed, but before commencing with renovations, the new owners have started a temporary art community in the space.
The San Remo Exhibition, opening this Thursday, promises to be an exciting and unconventional group exhibition by 20 artists, both established and emerging, and will feature site-specific installations throughout the building.
About the building:
The history of San Remo is layered and diverse, incorporating Georgian, art décor and retro style architecture. Each room speaks of a story, or many stories that echo throughout the building as is evident in its architectural legacy. The original building, Weltervreden Estate, once served as a farmhouse. Later renamed Kenmare House, the residence was turned into a boarding house in 1904 for nurses working at Cape Town hospital. The boarding house, Wilton House, was then bought by the municipality of Cape Town and sold again in 1980,at which point began its gradual decline as the owners unfortunately lacked the financial means to maintain the property.
However, in 2011 it was purchased with the intention of converting it into a boutique hotel, using all the charm of this landmark building as there are so few of its kind remaining in Cape Town today. Through reinstating its grandeur and bringing back some dignity to both the building and neighbourhood in this process, the new owners have gone to great lengths to respect the historic integrity of the property. This included hiring tree doctors for the old oak trees in the courtyard, professionals to restore the building and commissioning a young photographer to immerse himself in the community and document the last months of the building’s former identity (misery, drugs and prostitution).
At the beginning of 2012 the new owners started a temporary art community before commencing on renovations, in a sense to clear the ‘bad karma’ that inhibited the building and to transform the atmosphere into that of a new, dynamic and creative soul to enliven the neighbourhood.
This exhibition serves as the first step of an old lady into a new era, giving an opportunity to this select group of talented artists and opening the space for a dialogue between the broader public, this historic site and the fresh artistic culture of the Mother City.
Details on the poster, find more info on Facebook.