La Cala d’En Serra is a small cove situated in the north of the island of Ibiza. Uphill from it, the abandoned site of an unfinished hotel stand out. An idyllic spot of graffiti & urbex, I absolutely wanted to share with you the images of my exploration!
If you have never been to Ibiza, you should know that in addition to its summer nightclubs, it offers real natural and architectural treasures all year round. Two archaeological sites are listed by UNESCO, as well as the old town of Eivissa. And when it comes to street art, the BLOOP festival has been working for 10 years to promote it and organises the visit of unmissable artists to paint incredible murals all over the island.
But in my opinion its greatest attraction lies in the diversity and beauty of its Mediterranean landscapes. In fact, some protective measures have been taken by the public authorities to preserve biodiversity, which is in the grip of increasingly dense urbanisation. La Cala d’En Serra is located at the heart of a Natural Area of Special Interest (ANEI), which prohibits building there since 1991.
The current ruins are the legacy of a hotel complex project undertaken in the 1970s by Josep Lluís Sert, a renowned modernist architect. The building site was temporarily suspended due to his opposition to Franco’s dictatorship and then abandoned on his death in 1983. As a new urban planning project took shape in the 2000s, the financial crisis swept away the prospects for reconstruction. Many years later, the building site still remains in the state in which it was left.
To get to Cala d’En Serra, you have to go down a rocky road at the bottom of which you will discover turquoise waters and a wild panorama overlooked by the concrete remains. Some will find that this contrast spoils the natural spectacle of the cove. Personally, I find that it adds a bit of surrealism.
The building is completely accessible despite some poor barriers and it seems almost unbelievable given the decay and the danger that the place lets fear. Around the two buildings wild nature is omnipresent and at the end of the land you can access a wide concrete platform that overlooks the whole cove.
I climbed up the two or three floors, avoiding some wobbly stairs and falling into holes! The walls are fissured, the floor is cracked and all surfaces are tagged. In fact, there is so much graffiti and messages (some in French!) that I deduce that it is a space hyper frequented by graffiti artists and urbex adventurers!
Exploring it also allowed me to identify some street artists from Ibiza, such as Butron Delcastel, Rubiio.One, Inkrustart, FlowHer Power, and international artists like the Barcelonian BubleGum or the famous French Noar Noarnito and the English Morf.
I discovered that an artistic residency had been organised in 2018 by Ses Dotz Naus association. The first building was taken over by the Luxembourg artist duo Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil. As part of a collective action, they invited inhabitants and volunteers to take possession of this abandoned site by painting one of the façades, mixing street-art and visual arts. The traces of their work are still visible under the recent tags, as ephemeral and fragile as these walls. Their performance highlighted the artistic and historical dimension of the place and the building, which was originally part of the modern architectural trend.
The residency was filmed to produce an audiovisual artwork, entitled Hotel Utopia. It can currently be seen at the Hab Gallery in Nantes (FR), as part of an exhibition of the artists, Automatic Revolution. Until November 1st, 2020. The production creates a lasting archive of this heritage.
The history of Spain is there, this ruin is a living testimony of its time and it also have its own story through the art that covers its walls.
This place raises a lot of questions for me and I don’t know what will become of it. But here we bring our little contribution to the building in its valorisation.
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