the art gallery “Can Berri”, in the little village of Sant Agustí, until
the 30th July, we can admire an exhibition of a splendid
selection of paintings done by the international German artist Hagen
this exhibition we can see over thirty oil paintings. Most are
landscapes and illustrations of the nature of Eivissa.
compositions look like “collages” (I took them as collages until I went
closer and I had my glasses on).
There are also some still-life paintings and portraits, painted in
different styles, but all elaborated with an impeccable technique, with
a proper use of the colours and the light. They are very realistic but
at the same time also full of artistic sensitiveness and a subtle,
ironical humour in which one could guess - in some of them, especially
the portraits - the roots of the German Art-School.
was the owner of “Can Berri” gallery, Gastão Heberle (see Artists on
Ibiza (Eighteen) in Weekly Edition 069 of 22nd June 2002) who
arranged our first personal meeting, Gary and I with Hagen Voss. This
happened last Monday at midday at Renate and Hagen Voss’s house in the
South of the Island, near “Es Cubells” in Sant Josép.
Hagen Voss was born in Sondershousen, Germany, in 1935. He studied at
the “High Art-School” in Berlin, where he passed his degrees. Voss also
did courses on directorship and the architecture of exhibitions and he
worked for several years in different towns in Germany with his job as
an Architect and Director of Art-Exhibitions. He also passed his degrees
in other Art-disciplines, such as Graphics and Sculpture. All his
professional life has been deeply involved with the creative world of
After a few decades of successfully organising art exhibitions for a
good amount of artists in different art galleries, and also being
responsible of other art-events, Voss decided to start producing his own
art creations and organise his life as a productive and creative
Then, Renate and Hagen started to travel abroad, to the sunny
Mediterranean countries, looking for the ideal place to work and live.
arrived for the first time in this Island around the middle of the 1960s
and the first impression of Eivissa was deep and very favourable. But it
was not until the last years of the following decade (after visiting and
living in quite a few Mediterranean islands, Elba, Sicily, Malta, some
of the Greek islands and Northern Africa) in 1978 that they finally
bought a plot of land and built their own house here.
I asked him why they chose Eivissa from all the alternatives they had,
among all the places they had visited and lived, Hagen answers with a
loud and clear voice that sounds very convincing, but also with a
slightly ironical smile, like someone who is saying something so obvious
that it shouldn’t be necessary to even mention it: “The light”, he said.
the people; the kindness and style of life of the locals”, adds his
Their house was built looking to the South, about one kilometre away
from this natural altar, a hundred metres above sea level.
is on the cliffs that form the bay of “Es Cubells”, from where the
entire island of Formentera, our little sister, can be seen, away on the
horizon, from the top of the roof that they transformed into a terrace.
It’s where they also built Hagen’s studio - not a very big room built on
top of the house, with just a big sky-light, that transforms the white
walls of the room as if it was an open-air studio.
Further away, past Formentera, the horizon line disappears, the sea
reaches Heaven and the sky sinks deep in the open sea, all in a big
explosion of light, especially at this time of the day, two in the
afternoon with a wild Sun shining. Not even the smallest cloud is in
sight. One doesn’t need to see the African coast beyond, to be able to
imagine it, to feel it, with its mirages as well.
Inside Hagen’s studio, looking at his work, we can understand better
what the light means to his paintings of the same local landscapes, done
under several different lights: the morning twilight, a ray of winter
sun crossing the stormy clouds, illuminating the almond-trees in
blossom; the peaceful and colourful sunsets; even the Moonlight, sailing
by “Es Vedrá”, leaving a wake where the plankton shines and the stars
reflect, all seen through a subtle veil that makes the scene more
intimate and mystic, a moment to keep deep down in the heart.
this studio, Voss has prepared his material for more then eighty
exhibitions, individual and collective, the great majority of them in
Germany, but his art-works are part of private collections all over the
the end of our meeting, Gary wanted to witness this moment by taking a
photograph of Hagen with me by his side.
put my arm around him. Maybe it was a little bit too familiar for the
German mentality, but I trust that Hagen and Renate have been here long
enough to know that what I really meant by the gesture was to confirm
our acceptance and welcome into our culture, into our world.
was as if we were, somehow, good old friends.
Pictures Courtesy of Hagen Voss