In between the sun, sea, sand and freshly caught seafood that comprise the Balearic Islands experience, there’s also artistic inspiration to be found. Mallorcaa top tourist destination for Britshas its share of embarrassing headlines featuring overzealous young partiers, but there’s a reason Catalan artist Joan Mir chose to live the rest of his life here (beyond his mother Dolors Ferr and wife Pilar being Mallorcan) after the war. A visit to the Fundaci Pilar i Joan Mir a Mallorca unearths the versatile painter and sculptor’s refuge, where he forged his next chapter as a bolder, more liberated artist until his death in 1983.
Most are familiar with Fundaci Joan Mir, established by the artist in Barcelona, where he was born. The lesser-known Fundaci Pilar i Joan Mir a Mallorca, about a 20-minute drive from Palma’s bustling center, still distinguishes itself from the older, larger contemporary art museum as it preserves Mir’s two studios, as well as a newer building designed by Rafael Moneo to display his works. The unique architecture not only hides paintings and sculptures around zig-zagged corners, but also tones down large pockets of that intense (and inspiring) Mallorcan sunlight and streams it in pleasurable portions. A bland white cube, this space is not. Here, there are only a few quiet visitors; the peaceful, private area to soak in his untranslatable cosmic observations, captured with the rawness of cave paintings.
If a coastal vacation isn’t on your calendar for some time, not to worry: interestingly, Mir is having a moment of resurgence as the art world uncovers further dimensions to his poetic, and later more violent, pieces (ie: higher demand on the market, but also more exhibitions around the world). Mayoral Galeria dArt recreated Mirs Majorcan studio at this year’s Armory Show in New York (a mix of furniture, ephemera, paintings, drawings and archival material); and the exhibition will continue to travel. The Schirn Kunsthalle just finished up a solo exhibition focusing on Mir’s large-scale paintings that intentionally took over walls. Some 250 works (on loan from Fundaci Pilar i Joan Mir in Mallorca) are currently on exhibition in Seoul’s Sejong Art Center. Also currently on view at MUDEC, the Museum of Culture in Milan, is “Joan Miro: The Force of Matter,” centering on the artist’s experimentation with unconventional materials and new techniques.
Fundaci Pilar i Joan Mir in Mallorca is a must-visit when you’re looking to take a break from beaches, hiking and other people. Admission is 6, and is free on Saturdays.
Images by Nara Shin