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Artists of Ibiza

Artists on Ibiza

Antonio Hormigo, The Sculptor of Ibiza
Introductory & Exhibitions

by José P Ribas


The first memories I have of Toni Hormigo go back as far as my very early childhood, I remember very clearly his father's workshop, a little room by the family house that I used to visit sometimes.

I was allowed to stay, if I kept myself still and quiet, for five, ten minutes, at the most. (There were a lot of small and fragile objects, easy to break or to lose, as well as big and small sharp tools, dangerous in children's hands). Toni and sometimes his brothers (Leonardo, Luís, Paco and little sister Laly) used to work, after coming home from work, helping their father and learning from his techniques at the same time. It was fascinating to see them working, carving little heads, about one inch long, coloured with inks and varnished, faces of all the races and all the expressions of the entire world, Chinese, Red-skin-indians, Indian-indians. Moors, Vikings, your neighbour, Cossacks, Africans, the Marx Brothers, etc.

Some had big, smiling mouths with small perfect white teeth, some looking sad, some terrific. These heads were all different, some sold as single buttons or a couple of cufflinks, but most were afterwards strung, a few together, the short ones as bracelets, the long ones as necklaces, that looked like a big United Nations meeting. Thousands of these little heads were later sold in the first souvenir shops in San Antonio, Ibiza-Town, Mallorca and Mainland Spain.

Since then, from the little heads made of the same oleander shoots that the ibicenco "flaúte" are made from, Antonio's art work hasn't stopped growing,

Ibiza and Formentera are these days firmly established in The World of the Arts.

The legend of the Islands covers every creative area… from the Ibiza disco sounds, with world class DJs, jazz festivals and live concerts by top-ten stars every year, to the fashion world, with "Ad Lib" and the "Ibiza-Look," known and sold all over the world.

The cinema industry is working locally more and more every year and indeed three proper films were made in the last fifteen months, using the Islands' scenarios and landscapes and featuring some local artists and extras (one of them, "Lucía y el sexo", filmed in Ibiza and Formentera, has been selected this week as a possible candidate for the Oscars). The Modern Dance and Classical Ballet, Theatre and Literature perform several first class events every year.

The Plastic Arts, sculpture and especially painting, have a very special relevance, for the number and the great quality of the artists, locals and residents, that live and create on the Islands, and export their wares to the rest of the world.

It is very difficult to think of any other place with such a small community (107,000 inhabitants' altogether) where we can find so many local and international well-known famous artists. Their artistic work forms part of many valuable private collections and it can be seen in some of the best modern art museums in the world.

It is an honour and a real privilege to be able to create such a talented Artist's Gallery, and from this website show and share it with art lovers' worldwide.

For the first edition of "Artists on Ibiza", we have had the privilege to speak with one of Ibiza and Formentera´s most important native artists, Antonio Hormigo Escandell (Toni Hormigo, as he prefers to be called).

Toni Hormigo was born in San Antonio (Ibiza) in 1933. His father also named Antonio was born in San Antonio and his mother, Catalina, was from Formentera.

The family spent the years of the Spanish civil war (1936-39) in Barcelona, were he went to his first school.

After the war, back in Ibiza, Toni soon began to work as an apprentice in different jobs, such as cobbler, barber and sailor. He started learning the carving techniques from his father, a very talented artisan, at his workshop, until his military service, as a marine in the navy.

Afterwards back in Ibiza again, he started as a lighthouse keeper, also being paid for sailing snipes that tourists used to rent, but he never stopped his second job as a carving artisan.

Little by little he started to have more and more demands for his artistic works. With this extra money he bought himself a bigger boat with an engine to take tourists out fishing and lived on it for a few years, as well as carving.

He got married in 1969 to Carmen Juan Botella. They have two sons, Paco and Marcelo. Both sons carry on with the family tradition and also have presented some sculptures in Toni's exhibitions.

In 1973, he had to take one of the most important decisions of his life when new tax laws and an enormous rise in the cost of the insurance were taking all the profits. He could not continue with his job and the business. He was not long married, with two baby sons, still building and paying for his little new house, at Port des Torrent. And so he sold the boat and decided to live exclusively by his art.

His life became his family, his house, full of art pieces, his work and his workshop, his friends around the table, with good wine and simple, healthy, tasty food, good conversation, classical background music and non-stop smoking (from the local tobacco "tabac pota" to "Montecristo" Havana cigars).

The size of his sculptures were getting bigger as he was experimenting with other types of wood, "sabina", junipers, pine-tree, almond-tree, carob-been-tree and most of the local trees, including some huge exotic trunks, that, from time to time appear on the beach after a storm,

He also created interesting sculptures in stone. But probably, his best creations are the big sculptures made of an entire olive tree's massive twisted trunk.

There is no other artist that I know or have heard of anywhere in the world, that does anything similar to these magnificent masterpieces. For instance there is his altar in the restaurant "Sa Capella" in San Antonio, a sculpture over two tons in weight and almost five metres high. History, Mythology, and Nature, are his favourite subjects.

At the same time he was developing his new and personal techniques, enlarging his knowledge of the materials that he was working with, working harder and longer every day. His artistic talent and well-gained reputation was growing at the same rhythm and in the same proportions. And so it is today, still growing, still working and creating, even more then ever. God bless you, Toni.

Individual and Collective Exhibitions with the "Grupo 77"

1964 "Premio Isla de Ibiza" (Island of Ibiza Award) Sala es Pilo.

1969 Galería Vallribera, Sant Antoni.

1970 Galerìa La Rana, Sant Antoni.

1973 He is invited to participate with a collective exhibitions tour in Norway.

1974 Sala de Exposiciones "La Caixa", Ibiza. (His first exclusive exhibition)

1975 Galeía Bes, Sant Antoni.

"Pintores de Ibiza" Palacio de la Virreina, Barcelona.

Galería Exoteria, Madrid.

1976 "Semana de Ibiza", Madrid.

III Semana Cultural de Ibiza

1977 Galería Internacional, Sant Antoni. Toni Hormigo, together with three painters, forms the "Grupo 77" Paco Torres, (Cadiz, Spain) Hemio Mitchells (Germany) Bert May (Germany).

Inauguration of the "Monumento al payes" (monument to the peasant) "Es Verro" in Sant Antoni.

1978 "Salón de Primavera" (Spring Salon) Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Ibiza.

Kulturkreis, Oberursel, Frankfurt, Germany.

1979 "Homenaje a la Infancia" (Homage to the Infancy), "La Caixa", Ibiza.

Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid. (Madrid's Cultural Centre)

Sala de Exposiciones del Casino de Ibiza.

1980 "II Salón de Primavera" Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, (Contemporary Art Museum) Ibiza.

"Artistas de San José" (San José artist) Galería Berri, Sant Agustí, Ibiza.

"Artistas Ibicencos" Galería Mulí, Santa Gertrudis, Ibiza.

Galería Internacional, Sant Antoni.

"Homenage a D'aifa", Casa de la Curia, Ibiza.

"Circulo Cultural de Bellas Artes", Palma de Mallorca.

In the 1980s and 1990s decades, he continued working at the same rhythm, with one or two, individual and collective exhibitions in Ibiza every year and some out of the island, in Spain and other European countries.

1982 "Galería L'oeil de Boeuf" Paris, France.

1985 "Galería Nova" Hagen, Germany.

1986 "Casa Lis" Salamanca, Spain.

1987 "Galería Palette" Wuppertal, Germany. Here, Toni Hormigo form part of the "Gruppe R B K"

1988 "Instituto Español de Cultura" (Spanish Culture Institute) Munich, Germany.

1998 "Eivissa, anys 1960" (Ibiza, the 1960s) A collective exhibitions of the best artist of the island in the 1960s. (MAC) Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Contemporary Art Museum) Ibiza.

1999 "Eivissa, L'art dels 1970" (Ibiza Art in the 1970s) (MAC) another collective exhibition of the best artist in the 1970s.

His work has also been reflected in several cinema documentaries, such as "Ibiza es una fiesta" (Ibiza is a fiesta) filmed by Granena "Beautiful People" a German film. "Baleares" film by V. Roselló.

Also in the books "Ibiza, la senda de los elefantes" (The track of the elephants) by Mariano Planells.

"Diccionario de los secretos de Ibiza" (Ibiza's secrets dictionary) by Mariano Planells.

"En la isla del dios Bes" (In the god Bes island) by A. Barbero.

"Diccionario biografico de las Pitiusas" by M. Pesce.

"Gran Enciclopedia de la Pintura L'escultura a las Balears" (Great Encyclopaedia of Painting and Sculpture of the Balearics).

"Eivissa, anys 1960, el naixemen de Babel" (Ibiza, the 1960s, the birth of Babel).

"Eivissa. L'art dels 1970" (Ibiza. The Art at the 1970s).

Crucificado - 1963
Pino, 36 x 12 cm
Símbolo - 1966
Pino, 38 x 10 cm
Ciclo Vital - 1975
Encina, 70 x 30 cm
La Gestación de un Profeta - 1975
Pino, 40 x 20 cm
El Abrazo - 1976
Freeno, 95 x 40cm
Pequeño Gran Pensador - 1977
Freeno, 100 x 40 cm
Señor Curie - 1978
Olivo, 45 x 30 cm

All Pictures courtesy of Antonio Hormingo Escandell

José P Ribas