A cocktail of drama, art history and cinematic vision, Isolation Hotel is multidisciplinary work combining photography, performance, installation and set design.

Heather Straka, an Auckland-based artist, has recreated the look and feel of a 1930s German hotel foyer, once opulent and now run-down, on an elaborate stage set inside the museum.

This set forms the backdrop for a series of Straka’s photographs, which feature a diverse cast of mysterious characters seeking sanctuary in the hotel. Everyone can find a character to identify with and make up their own stories.

Straka’s images recall the epic, heroic history and mythology paintings of Caravaggio, Rubens and Rembrandt, hinting at soap opera-esque backstories, secrets and dates with destiny.

The set also provides a backdrop for visitors to take their own photos and tell their own stories. Straka invites them to project their own dreams, desires, and anxieties onto her set.

Isolation Hotel hints at present-day social issues; Covid lockdowns and managed isolation, #metoo, LGBTQIA+ aesthetics and liberation, the housing shortage and contested monuments to a colonial past.

The work is a unique and enigmatic art experience that aims to give the viewer a voice and allow them to use their own subjectivity.

Produced in collaboration with SCAPE Public Art.