The persistent pop-culture image of the genius yet fragile artist working in total isolation at a fever pitch is a misnomer. Of course, creativity often requires moments of quiet reflection, deep concentration and hours of work but there is a lot to be said for collaboration as a catalyst for creativity. Without this connection to others, the artist’s work becomes disconnected and illegible. There is no me without us. The establishment of new Ibiza-based artist residency Ses Dotze Naus challenges the image of the lonely artist by bringing 12 creators from across the world to build a collaborative, site-specific exhibition.
Founded by Ángeles Ferragut and her husband Simon Southwood, along with a team of advisors, Ses Dotze Naus has the potential to transform Ibiza into a destination for art lovers from around the world. The first iteration of the residency to be organised under the umbrella of the Ses Dotze Naus Foundation sees hand-picked collective of artists housed in a refurbished building in Figueretes, working on a collaborative exhibition for a new art space in the industrial zone of Can Bufi that has been renovated specifically for the programme. The final exhibition of the spring residency, featuring the collaboration between all eight artists, is presented on Wednesday April 13, 2022.
Ibiza plays a major role in all the Ses Dotze Naus programmes, not only as a base from which to explore individual creative processes but also as a muse. Each creator is asked to absorb the island into their psyche and work. The residencies occur under the guiding hand of a single curator, who the foundation unearths through its extensive global networks. This current residency is focused on creatives under 35 years old and is helmed by Italian-born, London-based curator and artist, Linda Rocco. “We wanted this residency to have a collaborative aspect to find the commonalities between each artist,” explains Ángeles. “Linda proposed this manifesto of presence, asking questions about why culture is important for society, what is the position of artists in our culture and what is this present moment? The concept was immensely interesting to us, especially when put to younger artists.”
With Linda’s input, Ángeles and her team invited a collective of hand-picked artists from all over the world to participate in the Ibiza based initiative. “We purposefully chose artists from very different backgrounds, disciplines and areas of expertise,” she says. “Among them we have a writer, a choreographer, a collective that works with technology in a metaverse, one who works with sound and music, visual artists, a ceramicist and one who works with textiles. It’s such a diverse group.”
Along with building creative networks between artists and curators, Ses Dotze Naus Foundation seeks to engage the local population through a series of free workshops facilitated by the artists themselves. Occurring on weekends throughout the eight-week residencies, the workshops are based in the exhibition space in the Can Bufi industrial zone. These gatherings are a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a working artist while also learning new skills and connecting with like-minded people. This part of the programme has been highly successful with each recent workshop reaching capacity.
Designed to create a strong international profile within the art world, Ses Dotze Naus Foundation is committed to multiple artists’ residencies in the future, in addition to art programmes in public spaces and the development of Ibiza as a place for the creation, production and enjoyment of contemporary art. The next residency takes place in October 2022 at the family finca, where Ángeles has refurbished the stables into a fully functioning studio. Here, the creators will be encouraged to participate in a pioneering long-term research project exploring the material, symbolic and emotional dimensions that shape our relationship with nature, rural environments and agricultural ecosystems. Being witness to creatives experiencing her homeland has been a revelation for Ángeles. “I’m rediscovering Ibiza through their eyes,” she says.
As Ses Dotze Naus Foundation continues to grow, it invites public and private participation in building Ibiza’s creative profile. “There are so many cultured and sophisticated people here who want this experience and want to be involved,” says Ángeles. “There’s a thirst for culture.” Her long-term strategy includes finding pathways for artist grants and further involvement of the public and private spheres. “It’s important to us that this project is transversal,” she explains. “It’s not one artist coming and bringing pre-existing work here. It’s about providing a way for creators to respond and experience the island and let it inform their work. I really want to build something for Ibiza.”