Art Galleries in Palma: Casal Solleric

I visited Casal Solleric recently when I was on the Palma Art Tour.

Located on the Born in Palma, Casal Solleric is a wonderful 18th century Mallorcan palace with one of the most amazing courtyards in the city.

It is now open to the public and houses the tourist information centre and various temporary exhibitions.

With the Palma Art Tour we were here to see two exhibitions: those of Santiago Villanueva and Marcos Vidal. Both exhibitions were site-specific, which means that they were designed around the particular space that they had available at Casal Solleric.

Santiago Villanueva

The first exhibition we saw at Casal Solleric was called Allusions by Santiago Villanueva. Actually, Villanueva is an architect and it shows in his artwork. Everything looks planned and measured. His work is not as erratic as that of other artists.

This collection is supposed to freeze moments of movement, like the drip of paint suspended in air, no longer touching the paintbrush and not yet having reached the floor.

These pieces were bright and bold and colourful and pleasing to the eye.

How Santiago Villanueva describes his concept on his website:

Nothing remains stable; there is a changing balance: transitions that depict the internal forces like an omen of what is bound to happen. Actions captured in the middle of a transformational process, inertia that can be considered as part of the development, or the will or the stimulus.

These works are about actions, which can only be interpreted through the senses. Thus, they are not meant to provoke simple visual pleasure or mere tactile experiences. On the contrary, they are meant to stimulate desire, to seduce us until we sensorially penetrate the objects, until we can feel the emotions from a deeply private and subjective place.

Unpacking

Hanging right down into the centre of the courtyard in Casal Solleric was a huge red fibreglass sphere with bubble-wrap and other packing materials hanging off it. This piece was called Unpacking. It was my least favourite of this artist, but was the most talked about.

Apparently the perfectly smooth and unblemished surface of the ball is protecting all the chaos that is inside.

Villanueva says of Unpacking:

“If my polished and perfect epidermis is the container that protects the emotional fluid that dwells in “Unpacking” the same skin seeks refuge and protection in a more vast and clear skin; the traditional packing of a work of art. Thus, the sphere is displayed in a state of levitation caused by the trance that involves on the one hand the irrepressible desire to be between modest and shy, between sensual and erotic, and secondly, embarrassed by the fear of the critical and “voyeuristic” which will be submitted in such a public space and exposed like this of Casal Solleric.”

Get it?

Good.

View more photos from this collection on Pinterest.

Marcos Vidal

Marcos Vidal had an exhibition in another area in Casal Solleric called The Secret.

This one was pretty bizarre because, first of all, the exhibition was in the sub-level chambers of the old palace and we had to walk through small stone corridors connecting each space, and secondly because the works themselves were quite freaky: a dolls’ house with a couple at the alter, a Playmobil figure on the roof posed in front of a mirror and a man and a skeleton sitting at a kitchen table.

Hmmm. What to make of all that?

This collection, The Secret, is based on a book of the same name by Jules Verne. The protagonist in the book is also called Marcos Vidal, so it seems that here our artist believes that this book, published in 1910, is about him.

The story is of a man and woman who are in love and decide to get married. But another man is in love with the same woman. This man possesses the secret to invisibility and he makes the woman invisible so that the first man can’t have her. This is why there is a man having a coffee with a skeleton, to represent that the woman is not wholly there. And this is why there is an empty chair with weird, dark music in the background.

There is another strange thing about this book which Marcos Vidal has also tried to portray in his work: Jules Verne died in 1905 but the book was published in 1910. It is believed that his son took over the work and finally published it in his father’s name five years later. It is not known how much was written by Jules Verne himself and how much was written by his son. There is also some speculation that parts of the book were influenced by H. G. Wells’ 1897 ‘The Invisible Man’.

To try to portray this, there is a painting of artist Marcos Vidal in the collection, which he calls a self portrait even though it was painted by an artist called Rafel Bestard. That’s also why he commissioned someone else, Aleksandra Rasulic, to add the music.

Our guide, Ana got really excited when she was telling us about this project. She had been to the inauguration and sipped the glass of wine and wandered around with friends and had not thought much of the exhibition. Then she had gone away and researched the story behind the collection and then something just clicked, she told us, and everything fell into place. From then on she loved this work of Marcos Vidal.

You can read more here about this art tour that I joined in Palma de Mallorca.

Filed Under: Art in MallorcafeaturedmallorcaPalmaspain

About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....

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  1. susan sykes says:

    I love the red paint drop, I found it really relaxing,was it painted or a photo?

  2. susan sykes says:

    I love it

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