Shipwreck Studies at Hauser & Wirth Menorca

curated by Oriol Fontdevila as part of the exhibition After the Mediterranean

April - October 2023




‘Shipwright Francesc Preto built his last boat inland, with the intention of housing a naturist community. Arcalís creates archaeological fictions with the flotsam of her great grandfather’s shipwreck, using the traces of a utopia that is yet to become alive.’


Oriol Fontdevila, curator






















































































Shipwreck Studies Shipwreck Studies is inspired by a collection of found objects that used to belong to my great-grandfather, Francesc Preto. A ship builder and a man of liberal thought, his last project was the construction of a 26 metres long ship that was to become a vegetarian commune with its own allotment.

Just some years after its completion in the early eighties, the ship was burnt in mysterious circumstances. Different stories are shared about the cause of its disappearance, I couldn’t find a conclusive explanation. Only a few traces of the hull’s structure, metal parts of Francesc’s old workshop and random everyday objects survived the fire.

Those objects interested me because they had lost their original use, which allowed me to play with them freely in a series of temporary surreal sculptures. The compositions are made of found fragments of glass, dried plants, ceramic vessels, recipients, balusters, binoculars, buoys, propellers, sea snails, soil…

Looking for the testimony of the unrealised utopia of my great-grandad and working with the asurd still lives made with items that once belonged to my family, became a way of reflecting on my own experience as an islander of the Menorcan landscape in the past and in the present.



INSTITUTIONS & PARTNERS



The research of this project has been possible thanks to the funding of the Institue of Balearic Studies (IEB). Special thanks to Aina Pomar and Oriol Fontdevila for their thoughtfulness and care during the development of this project and to the team at Hauser & Wirth Menorca for supporting the production of Shipwreck Studies.





ARTWORK DETAILS






Wine-dark Sea 
La Mar Grisa
(images of the sea)
gelatin silver handprints
123cm x 155cm


Vessel I (a variation)
Vessel II
Vessel XI

gelatin silver handprints
35cm x 40cm

Still life with a snail and a spoon
Drimia Maritima with supports

gelatin silver handprints
13,5cm x 11cm
 (frame size 46cm x 37cm)


Paco Preto building his last ship, 1981
colour picture, family archive (nfs)
11cm x 8cm

Whale womb eye hull
(drawing)
unframed, ink on paper
15cm x 21cm



Shipwreck Studies, Hauser & Wirth Menorca (April - October 2023)

Installation pictures by Roberto Ruiz