Palma Nit de l'Art 2019 Review
Palma de Mallorca's galleries open their doors for three nights
The Nit de l'Art is the biggest art event on the island, kicking off the artistic season in the island’s capital. Each year, people flood the streets of Palma eager to sample the artistic delights on show.
The event has been running since 1996 but, due to its rising popularity, this year the organisers decided to lay on a three-night art extravaganza, so the 23rd edition took place between September 19th and 21st. This is how it went.
It’s worth mentioning that there are 10 galleries that make up Art Palma Contemporani, the organizing entity of the Nit de l’Art. These launch their exhibitions and receive collectors, artists, curators, sponsors, institutions and people interested in the art world. But what I love about this event is that it can be whatever you make of it. The official program is extensive, with many museums and galleries inaugurating their exhibitions. There are private viewings, talks and previews from seasoned professionals through to street art exhibits showcasing bright young talents on the city’s pedestrianised streets. You will also find many restaurants and bars showcasing some worthy pieces from aspiring artists.
There are also professional tours of the galleries run by Art Palma Contemporani (in English and Spanish) but you would need to reserve your spot in advance. I, however, decided to explore the event myself with a couple of friends with the help of the official Nit de l’Art map. This is an absolute must if you are attending the event, so you know where to focus your attention – otherwise, you could get lost in the maze of streets around Palma.
We started by heading towards Palma’s old town, via Santa Catalina (to the west of the old town). There were already people gathered outside establishments showcasing art works, many with a glass of wine in their hand. However, we continued on towards La Lonja area just to the east of Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, one of the most famous art museums in the city. In this area, there are quite a few small quirky galleries. The streets around Carrer de Sant Feliu is where I focused my attention – you might know it, it’s where the beautiful lifestyle store Rialto Living resides.
Now, I must have been into almost a dozen different galleries with an array of modern artworks, so I am going to tell you about some of the exhibitions that stood out in my mind. I started at the Gerhardt Braun Gallery, where I saw the 'Self Reflection' exhibition by Ronald A Westerhuis, an artist who has gained worldwide recognition for his impressive stainless steel sculptures in the past. Their beauty and the way the pieces played with the light, especially against the rustic cobbled floor, certainly caught my eye.
I then popped my head into Art Lab, where ‘Happy Birthday Barbie’ by Romy Querol was being held. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Barbie, a collection of large scale photos were on display. These images told the stories of the changes in gender roles, cultural and political transformation through Barbie, a doll turned cultural icon that no longer only represents conservatism and conformity but also contradiction, conflict and rebellion
Galería Maior was hosting an exhibition by Edward Lipski, 'Skin and Stone'. Clearly inspired by archaic images, the works in this exhibition still retained something that made them really modern – a sense of imperturbability coexisting with a current touch that revitalised the entire lot. All the works had been arranged at the height of the visitor to increase the intensity of the encounter between art and spectator.
Within Rialto Living Joan Aguiló presented “Estiu – Summer”, filling up the walls with canvases inspired by his own childhood. In his own words, “Summers were all about melons, macaronis, knee pads, cabins, sandcastles and the smell of sun cream. I was jumping in the water, eating ice cream, being together with grandmothers, buying coco-lemon-beer drinks on the beach and playing Mario Bros video games.” This exhibition brought together a diverse crowd to support a street artist who started his work in the old town of Palma.
We, of course, also popped into a bar for a glass of wine before heading home at around midnight. Passing Es Baluard Museum, it appeared to be party central. With hundreds of people gathered, it certainly looked as though they weren’t going home anytime soon!
More Mallorca Insights...