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Walking on Ice

An art exhibition was opened last week at Sa Llotja in Palma. I did not go to the opening. I never go to openings; I make it my habit to go the next day, or a few days later, to have my encounter with the artwork and the artist’s ambitions in peace and on my own, unfettered by the art circuit crowd who sees openings as a social event where it is important to be seen at the right place with the right people and where the art on show usually comes second, if that.

The exhibition is by Mallorcan artist, Bernardí Roig, and is called Walking on Faces. It felt a bit like Walking on Ice to me, because, believe me, it is one thing to look at the portrait of a person, and quite a different sensation to walk straight over it. As it were, we were invited to walk over close to 2,000 faces, because that is the number of participants in that project, all people from and residents in or visitors to Palma last April.

Apart from a certain hesitation of trampling upon other people’s vulnerability, I don’t really know what to think of Señor Roig’s artistic inclinations. It may be a bit of a flat idea in more ways than one. But, hey, let me also say one thing: I have been to some 30 art exhibitions at Sa Llotja over the last 25 years. And for sure, none of the previous artists paid as much homage to and showed as much respect for this Gothic location by the hand of a genius, Guillem Sagrera (1380-1456), as has done Bernardí Roig, and I would applaud him for that.

The Mediaeval trade exchange was closed for three years for some extensive restoration work. Since it has been reopened, the place was only open for a couple of days to be shown and presented in its new glory. Then an art installation was presented last year, Llaüts Light, by Fabricio Plessi. The installation was fabulous but one could see nothing of the building’s splendid interior as the setting was all dark and blue. After that show, the Llonja was closed again, until now. I would recommend a visit to the Walking on Faces exhibition for two reasons: go, if you are interested in one of the finest buildings in Palma, in fact, in all of Mallorca. And go, if you should have presented yourself as one of the 1,878 faces participating. It sure is a nice feeling to be part of a larger project in such a prime location. You may have to spend quite some time before you find your portrait, but if you do, your face will light up, I am sure of that. If none of the above applies, go anyway. Walking on thousands of largely anonymous identities is perhaps part of the creative project of this exhibition. If nobody goes and treads on the faces, no wear and tear will occur and perhaps that deterioration is needed before one can see more than the flatness that is so obvious at this moment in time.

The photos were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 10th, 2012. The time was 19:46:02 and 19:50:49, respectively.

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