MIAA 2022: a review

TOR Art Space
May 2023

The exhibition "Mallorca International Art Awards 2022: a review" includes the works of some of the most outstanding contemporary artists on the scene in Mallorca.
The word review, on this occasion refers to reflection on topics such as an autobiography, the community, aesthetics, politics and metaphysics. All these concepts are present in the work of the artists who present their creations in this edition of the MIAA awards. Their presence in the project is demonstrated in the flexible quality of their work, but also will be discussed in their speeches.
The MIAA awards are intended to pay tribute to the art of Mallorca, which is in constant review of highly relevant issues that affect us and our environment.
Starting with the winner of the first edition of the MIAA awards, Marcelo Víquez’s work is essentially autobiographical. Beginning from the union and modification of various objet trouvé, the artist reflects critically on his own life experience and on the world around him. The combination of these objects – often with a utilitarian function and totally unrelated to artistic issues – allows a reinterpretation of aesthetics through irony, sarcasm and black humor. Thus, Viquez proposes a break with the established order, always inciting change. Social criticism is a constant in the artistic discourses of contemporary art, both from the observation of society and from one’s own introspection. With the same desire to dismember reality in order to reconstruct it anew, Cristòfol Pons’ canvases present the social revolution as the only possible way for the destruction of the oppressive system. The union and collaboration with the common aim of changing the structure of violence where we live, which can only happen from the popular insurrection, in favor of true freedom, feminism and anarchy.
Facing the individualization that disables us as a society, the understanding of society from the collective prism is reflected again in the work of Alicia Santamaria. Based on ethnographic practices and everyday observation, Santamaria’s work reflects on individual and collective emotions. The use of pottery allows the artist to link the plastic fragility of the material with her own discourse, addressing themes such as community, work, identity or care. Her imaginary refers to intimate and everyday contexts through objects, thus allowing critical reflection of our collective memory and its development towards the future. In turn, the work of Stella Rahola keeps an eye on sustainability, collaboration and material memory. Rahola’s work recovers the craft processes of creating objects, historically used by men, which lead her to conceive the body – and especially the hands – as the main creative tool. Her reflection questions the past and the future, recovering traditional materials that today are essential for technology and progress. Going through scientific and almost alchemical procedures, Rahola takes the fragility of her works to the extreme to reflect on the life cycle of matter itself and in turn, of life.
It is almost inevitable that concepts such as environmentalism and sustainability are predominant in the creations exhibited in this project. The concerns of the artists for the sensitivity of the island and its ecosystem are reflected in their creations from different perspectives. Thus, Mar Guerrero’s work shows interest in the preservation of the marine ecosystem and astronomy. The scientific vision that prevails in her work allows to create an archeology of time, through the observation of the memory of the spaces and the traces that humans leave in our passage through the Earth. In turn, from an analytical point of view, Olimpia Velasco’s work investigates how humanity finds privileged points from which to observe Nature and protect it. Through the use of heterogeneous techniques and materials, Velasco conceives the natural environment as an escape from reality, where the artist can identify and understand the deepest and most indescribable human feelings.
The atmosphere, the environment and its elements are the paths by which artists such as Alba Suau and Aina Albo reach introspection to understand their most unfathomable emotions. Both artists create from abstraction, but choosing opposite visual lines. Alba Suau uses expressionism and the use of color to create a meditative instrument. The subtle elements that make up its surroundings, such as the sounds from outside or the light that enters a room, take on a transcendental sense, transporting the viewer to a place where they can isolate themselves and remain. The contemplation of these is what leads the artist to create experiences through her painting. For her part, Aina Albo uses forms that are born from nature, such as lighting or environmental elements, to create a very personal geometric language. On this occasion, the soft color range underlies the use of shapes. The influence of sculptural techniques provides the use of materials of natural or synthetic origin to shape the geometries. Thus, Albo projects abstract
images that relate to sensations or emotions that are imperceptible to the naked eye, and that the artist often links to her personal experiences.
Within geometric aesthetics, the work of Tomas Absolon and Josep Santamaria represent analysis and scientific rigor through painting, presenting a clear dichotomy between figuration and abstraction. Tomas Absolon’s experience in creating sports logos allows the artist to imagine and represent shapes from scratch. The silhouettes depicted on the canvases interact with the memory of those who look at them, adapting to their visual memories. Thus, Absolon creates an incomplete recognition that maintains the viewer’s uncertainty, who tries to find out the references of the forms that he is perceiving. In turn, the work of Josep Santamaria is based on the investigation of geometric abstraction, exploring ideas such as rhythm, chromatic balance, proportion or dimension. Based on aesthetic motivations, his language presents a clear link with the suprematist or constructivist avant-gardes of the 20th century. Santamaria’s works represent figures embodied in uniform surfaces where perspective is not visible, as if they were stars suspended in the cosmos.
The analysis and delicacy in the plastic medium are just as characteristic in the work of Gracia de Juan. Through the use of elements such as methacrylate, drawing or black light, the artist creates suggestive and almost mystical environments. The archetypal dualities of the mythological and ancestral imaginary – the sun and the moon, the woman and the wolf, the light and the shadow – allow De Juan to manifest an order, a way of understanding the passions, wills and contradictions that characterize human behavior.
As a conclusion, it could be said that the exhibition presents a map of the contemporary artistic context on the island, in turn reflecting the concerns and thoughts of our global society in a clear and rigorous way. The plastic and discursive relevance developed by the eleven participating artists is the best example that the art of Mallorca is a living, restless and constantly effervescent entity.