Ibiza History & Culture

LiveIbiza Established 1982
Ibiza Artists Anthropology Bibliomania Ecology History Features

Artists of Ibiza

Artists on Ibiza

Hagen Voss

by José P Ribas


In 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 Voss.

In this exhibition we can see over thirty oil paintings. Most are landscapes and illustrations of the nature of Eivissa.

The 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.

It 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 the Arts.

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 painter.

Then, Renate and Hagen started to travel abroad, to the sunny Mediterranean countries, looking for the ideal place to work and live.

They 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.

When 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.

“And the people; the kindness and style of life of the locals”, adds his wife, Renate.

Their house was built looking to the South, about one kilometre away from this natural altar, a hundred metres above sea level.

It 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.

From 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 world.

By the end of our meeting, Gary wanted to witness this moment by taking a photograph of Hagen with me by his side.

So I 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.

It was as if we were, somehow, good old friends.

Hagen Voss

All Pictures Courtesy of Hagen Voss

José P Ribas