Sa Bassa Blanca, An oasis for art and reflection in times of Coronavirus

Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu celebrate the 90th birthday of the Austrian born artist and their dream “The Bassa Blanca Museum” in Alcudia

By Nacho Jimenez

An oasis surrounded by Mediterranean nature, a few meters form the water’s edge, a place where art, creativity and reflection are melded, a parcel of peace and harmony in a convulsed time has obliged us to co-inhabit with the pandemic of the Coronavirus. If it were not for the sanitary measures and protocol imposed on arriving at the Bassa Blanca Museum in Alcudia, one could have the impression that time stood still there. Their founders and promoters, the tandem formed by the artists Ben Jakober (Viena 1930) and Yannick Vu (Montfort L’Amaury 1942) accompany Ultima Hora on a visit of this spectacular space on the 90th birthday of the Austrian born artist. To celebrate such a special anniversary they just published a new biography: Life in Art. “I never thought that I would reach the age of 90 in the middle of a pandemic but we must accept this without fear” confesses Ben from the terrace of the Hassan Fathy building, an impressive construction, filled with art and greenery. “We have to accept and live with this situation in the best possible way” says the artist. It is precisely in the Hassan Fathy building that their adventure began.

Yannick came to Mallorca the first time in the sixties with Domenico Gnoli, another genius (Rome 1933-New York 1970) her husband at the time. “Domenico was Ben’s best friend and we were enchanted by the island first, by the beauty of the surroundings, but also and above all by the sympathy of the Majorcans and the marvellous reception we received in Deya - that little colony of artists, Robert Graves and Mati Klarwein among them”.

They therefore both decided to “move here, inspired by the architecture and the adventure that we lived in S’Estaca”. That, white and Mediterranean edifice by the sea, was the start of “a dream to which we were able to give form – an inspiration somewhat Mediterranean and oriental.”

Vu and Jakober show us all the rooms of the Hassan Fathy house. Everything shown there is meticulously studied  and is now based on a dialogue “between European and non-European art where we are ever more interested in African Art. For health reasons the couple spend six months a year in Marrakech from where they are able to acquire art of the Continent.

Everything shown in the building, that had been their residence for many years had its beginning in 1994 “when we created the foundation to prepare the destiny and the future of all patrimony. We first opened the Aljub space in what had been a reservoir that now displays “NINS - Portraits of Children”! one of the most original collections in Europe. Most of the pictures represent portraits of royalty or nobility during their infancy, although there are also some from smaller courts and bourgeois families. Then there is Sokrates a subterranean space whose theme is based on a neon installation alluding to Einstein’s formula defining the relationship between space and time, and finally a gigantic sculpture park. Two hours should be reserved for the visit.

Life and Art

The life of Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu are intimately bound to art, “there is no other way” they agree “we do not go out to dinners or fiestas, we do not participate in any sport or pastime, our life is centred on taking care of all this during our 6 months here and continue to be in close contact with everything that is going on when we are elsewhere” says Jakober. Both artists make a perfect combination, but each one has their own view of the world and art. “We, like other couples often argue and have different points of view but when we meld the 2 visions, we manage to agree and time will tell which idea is withdrawn or reinforced”.

Conscious, precisely of the passing of time “we have a dedicated board of directors, who are prepared to take the reins of Sa Bassa Blanca when we move on to another place, although we do not know whether it will be better or worse” concluded Jakober.

 Photos :

In the NINS exhibition. / In front of the sculpture “I am still alive” / The courtyard / Double portrait by Werner Kruger / The Sokrates space /m In front of a painting by Misheck Masamuva 

2020 09 03 ultima hora

Located in Alcudia, Majorca, Spain, Sa Bassa Blanca Museum (msbb) is a museum fully integrated in a Protected Area declared Wildlife Sanctuary.
msbb - Sa Bassa Blanca Museum

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Museo Sa Bassa Blanca

Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober

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