By Deirdre Tynan •
Published: 12 Jul 2021 • 7:53
Isla del Rey is home to an imposing decommissioned naval hospital and a group of outbuildings constructed in the 18th century. Photo: Be Creative, Menorca
The Hauser & Wirth art centre will open after a two-year conservation project and feature an outdoor sculpture trail.
Located in the port of Mahon in Menorca, the new art centre on Isla del Rey will open on 17 July 2021. An exhibition by Mark Bradford will inaugurate Hauser & Wirth Menorca, featuring a dynamic suite of new paintings and sculptures. A dedicated education programme has been developed to engage both the local community and visitors in contemporary art through screenings, talks, and workshops.
Isla del Rey is home to an imposing decommissioned naval hospital and a group of outbuildings constructed in the 18th century. The local organisation Fundacion Hospital de la Isla del Rey has spearheaded the ongoing restoration of the historic hospital. Hauser & Wirth worked in close collaboration with the Foundation on a conservation initiative to repurpose the outbuildings into an exhibition space with eight galleries, a gallery shop, and ‘Cantina’ restaurant.
“Our dream has been to place powerful contemporary art like his within this very special context. Isla del Rey is an extraordinary place of wild nature, beautiful light and sea, with a fascinating history,” said Manuela Wirth.
“Iwan, Marc, and I are honoured and excited that Mark Bradford’s exhibition will inaugurate Hauser & Wirth Menorca. Our dream has been to place powerful contemporary art like his within this very special context. Isla del Rey is an extraordinary place of wild nature, beautiful light and sea, with a fascinating history. Our vision to create a cultural hub for Menorca has been realised over a five-year journey, and the enthusiasm shown to us by the Menorcan community and our family of artists has encouraged us at every step of the way. We look forward to welcoming our first visitors this year when we can travel again,” she added.
Artist Mark Bradford said, “For the past year it’s felt like we’re living on Mars, masked up, suited up, six feet apart on ground that just won’t stop moving. Eventually you’ve got to decide to move with it, to recognize that the unsteadiness is just a part of the course of history. I’m excited to share this new body of work, and look forward to steadier ground ahead.”
Hauser & Wirth Menorca will feature an outdoor sculpture trail with works by Louise Bourgeois, Eduardo Chillida, Franz West and others, in dialogue with Isla del Rey’s wildlife and the garden designed by influential landscape designer Piet Oudolf. Carefully shaped alongside the gallery buildings, the garden is characterised by a focus on structure and species adapted to the Mediterranean climate.
Paris-based, Argentinean architect Luis Laplace has led the comprehensive restoration project at Hauser & Wirth Menorca with emphasis on flexibility, sustainability and local architectural elements. Laplace has used skylights and windows to bring in light to the spacious galleries and frame the island and harbour views. The project features traditional building materials, such as tiled roof and terrazzo flooring made on site with local stones. The original wood beams have been restored, and wooden trusses added to support the structure. Environmental sustainability measures of the art centre include rain-water collection protocols, reusing water for ground irrigation, and energy efficient climate control for the buildings.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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