MITICO is a showcase of a septet of exciting artists in Europe curated by Belmond Hotels and Galleria Continua.
Set in the heady rose garden of Belmond’s Hotel La Residencia in Mallorca, opposite the artists’ enclave of Deià and encompassed by the Tramuntana mountains, where gnarled olive groves cling, a large black hydraulic claw slowly moves like an oversized mechanical spider.
Mallorca has long been a source of inspiration for artists across different creative disciplines. Artists who have been inspired by the island’s dramatic landscape include painter Joan Miró, composer Frédéric Chopin who loved its ancient monasteries, and poet Robert Graves who was soothed by its idyllic tranquillity.
The clawing art installation questions the impact of human industry and stands in stark contrast to the colourful and vibrant collection of original works by Miró hanging on the hotel’s Café Miró walls (the Miró museum in the capital Palma is also a must-see).
Last year, Belmond partnered with contemporary art gallery Galleria Continua for MITICO, a showcase of works by four prominent artists around its Italian properties, which embodied such values as acceptance and community, ultimately culminating in a celebration of the art of living.
This year, Belmond and Galleria Continua followed up with the second edition of MITICO, featuring seven international artists (including a duo) with very different origins and approaches, who all explore the relationship between humans and the environment. By taking the unique views, gardens and facades of Belmond properties as their backdrop and canvas, these artworks paint these iconic vistas in new light.
Created by Italian artist Arcangelo Sassolino and called “Hunger” (2006/2007), the claw moves around a purpose-made bed of concrete placed in the middle of the hotel garden, tearing away at the rock-hard surface and leaving deep scars. The ancient olive groves that surround La Residencia would be at risk from this machine, but it has now been made powerless by the artist. Uprooted from the construction industry, the claw has been extracted and placed in a new location where its damaging function is lost. By freeing the claw of its host machine and placing it on a flat surface where it cannot gain traction, its destructive power is rendered obsolete, yet the claw continues to attempt to rip and uproot — this failed effort turns into a slow and poetic dance that further nullifies its original strength. The work is an observation on how human-made objects in a natural environment can completely transform their identity. The continuous, lacerating movement of the claw leaves furrows on the concrete, as if it is seeking to sculpt a new identity in this alien context.
Milan-based Loris Cecchini takes residence at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (Oxfordshire, England). Cecchini explores the relationship between the organic and the artificial, attempting to “create a shift, a poetic suspension” to link the shapes of nature to technology through his art installations.
American artist Nari Ward takes residence at Castello Di Casole (Tuscany, Italy). Ward collects discarded objects and salvaged materials found in his local area in New York, repurposing them in thought provoking artistic juxtapositions to tackle social and political matters. In this year’s edition of MITICO, Ward takes residence in the gardens of Castello Di Casole where he explores the crucial passage from childhood to adult age with Stallers (2013), his art installation.
Beijing-based conceptual artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu take residence at Villa San Michele (Florence, Italy). The duo are prominent figures in contemporary art known for their thought-provoking and unconventional work. For MITICO, the duo takes Teenager Teenager (2011), their hyper-realistic art installation to Villa San Michele, Florence.
Cuban born artist, Yoan Capote takes residence at Villa Sant’Andrea and Grand Hotel Timeo (Sicily, Italy). At Villa Sant’Andrea, Capote investigates topics such as emigration, emotions and alienation through his art – common experiences of human beings, regardless of their origins.
At the Grand Hotel Timeo the Cuban artist explores the complexity of our behaviours through a selection of sculptures. Throughout MITICO, discover how the artist represents visual analogies between the inanimate object and the human mind.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
In addition, Galleria Continua and La Residencia collaborated on the launch of a new residency programme, inviting new and diverse international artists to apply for one of three unique places.
A converted courtyard room is now a working art studio for the first artist in residence: 44-year-old Anastasiia Podervianska from Kyiv (Ukraine), who specialises in textile art and is skilfully starting to stitch together her on-site creation. Over the next three months, Anastasiia will complete her creation, which will be exclusively exhibited at La Residencia.
Anastasiia arrived directly from Ukraine and her beloved Ukrainian flag was the first thing she put on the studio wall.
“I studied mural painting at the National Art Academy in Kyiv. Later, I worked with my father who is one of Ukraine’s most famous playwrights. I worked as a costume designer on his productions and that’s when I started working with fabrics for my art and fashion designs. My son, who is 15, is at art school and he’s hoping to become an architect: generations of my family are artists in some form.”
“In Ukraine now there is a war. When you stay inside Ukraine you lose control of everything. It was hard to leave my family to come here, but I knew it was important for me to take up the opportunity and create something new. It’s difficult for me to relax, especially when I hear news about things happening near my home in Kyiv; it’s very difficult.”
Anastasiia applied for her artist-in-residence place after seeing a notice on a gallery website. “I had to send my portfolio, artist statement, CV and the idea of my project, and out of five jurors, three independently chose me out of 300 applicants. They saw my portfolio and loved it. It was unexpected. I am representing Ukraine in my work by using certain fabrics and traditional Ukrainian embroidery; other things I use because I like the patterns and colours,” she explained.
The residency programme ties in with Belmond’s longstanding commitment to the arts, which embraces unique collaborations and initiatives. Guests are encouraged to engage with the works on display at Belmond’s hotels and view the surrounding environment with fresh eyes, reflecting on the issues being explored by the diverse group of artists.