The 25th Nit de l’Art took place between Thursday 16th and Saturday 18th September. Around 60 artists had their work represented in Palma and across the island.
On a balmy Saturday evening, the atmospheric streets of Palma’s Old Town were thronged with art lovers – if only for the evening – wandering from gallery to gallery.
Nit de l’Art was launched in 1996. Highly respected Pep Pinya, a Mallorcan gallerist since 1969, and Xavier Fiol whose eponymous gallery is known for its exhibitions of eclectic contemporary art were the prime movers. They were part of the Independent Association of Art Galleries of the Balearics.
Around ten or so years ago, the Nit de l’Art really began to take off as galleries and the city itself saw the benefits of being involved: good PR and packed bars and restaurants.
This year’s Nit de L’Art was inevitably affected by restrictions relating to the pandemic which meant that it was obligatory to wear masks in the galleries. In the streets, it was a different matter.
The large, brightly colourful pieces on the walls of Ahoy! embody Renate’s philosophy.
In the past couple of years, most gallerists on the island have needed to be optimistic in the face of the pandemic. Although many sell online, real world tourists were simply unable to visit their bricks and mortar spaces which must have affected sales.
On the Nit de l’Art, It seemed that Renate’s ‘art for optimists’ principle applies to many of the galleries.
The work on show at the enormous Gerhardt Braun Gallery is certainly bold and bright. Heiner Meyer’s High Gloss and Leon Löwentraut’s Unstoppable are pop art and Jeff Koons influenced displays of swaggering confidence.
If there’s any irony in Meyer and Löwentraut’s work, as there is in pop art and somewhere in the work of Jeff Koons, it’s hard to spot.
But the Nit de l’Art is not an event for art critics. Even if they were only taking selfies, the people admiring the work were clearly energised by all the splashy colour and images of Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Mouse and Warhol.
One exhibition at a gallery on Calle Sant Feliu, which runs up from the Born past Rialto Living towards the magnificent Es Baluard gallery and Sant Catalina, consisted of two crossed straps of some sort secured by large rocks.
It was difficult to discern any meaning in this but the space in which it was displayed was a gorgeous example of traditional Mallorcan architecture.
Being able to explore buildings that date back centuries and have been immaculately maintained on narrow, ancient streets opening up on brightly lit, bustling squares under a cloudless, blue velvet sky is a timely reminder that Palma’s Old Town itself is a work of art.