The Real Ones: Vicente

Vicente Ganesha, el mercader de tesoros

By Laura Martínez
Photos: María Andreu

Ibiza has always been a meeting place for open- minded, free-spirited and creative people who previously wandered the world before making the island their home.

This is exactly what happened to Vicente Ganesha, a bona fide Ibizan who was born in Alicante. He arrived on the island at the end of the 70s after living in London and Paris, where he bought and sold everything that caught his attention.

More than 40 years later, he is still searching for treasures to sell in his legendary shop in Ibiza Town. His shop is easily recognisable by the dazzling array of brightly coloured dresses at the entrance and the cheeky smile of the owner who sits at its entrance. From It girls such as Gala Gonzalez to supermodels including Naomi Campbell, all have popped into Vicente’s for a spot of shopping.

I read that you started buying and selling the furniture that was left behind after dismantling aristocrat’s houses in Paris …

I made the most of what I found in cellars, where people left stuff that they didn’t want anymore. I helped a friend empty these spaces and that’s how I started selling vintage bits and bobs at a flea market, I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning but I got to grips with it very quickly. The trick is to know what you have and to whom you are selling it to and you have to be a great salesperson.

I’m sure there’s been a lot of times when you have found something and thought: “why the hell are you throwing this out?”
Blimey! So many stories! I love everything to do with decoration and 70s aesthetics, but I can’t stand reeditions. I visited a market one day and I bought a table and 2 garden chairs for 100 euros from a German couple. Well, those 2 chairs were by Mathieu Mathègot, a marvellous Hungarian designer. This has happened to me so many times, ignorance is bliss (for me!

After your Parisian adventure, your next stop was 70s London. How did you end up in Ibiza?

I went to London for a Rolling Stones concert and on the way there I was stopped by the police because they thought I had marijuana. Patchouli was fashionable in those days and you could smell me a mile off. I fell in love with the city and I started working in a belt shop on Portobello Road.

 After seeing the film “Amour” in 1971 I decided to go to Ibiza for a month. After this first visit, I returned there with my American boyfriend for six months. I wanted to start living there full-time in 1974, and I made plans to go there with one of my best friends, but unfortunately, he died of a heart attack just before we went over.This was my first important life lesson. After this happened I went to Barcelona to work in an antique shop. I took three years for me to return to Ibiza after what happened with my friend. Since then it has been my home.

Your shop is a must-visit for those in search of unique clothing from the four corners of the globe. How easy was it to found your shop…
I got together with other people to set up a multi-brand shop called The End. We worked like crazy and although it was a good experience I learnt that I never wanted to work with other people again. I started a small shop on Calle de la Virgen in Ibiza and I filled it with things that I had in my home. I discovered that the place where I have the shop now was available to rent so I moved there. I immediately sold so much that I wanted to buy the place outright, and even though they didn’t sell it to me I knew that I made the right decision. I then started selling clothing in Argentina, where I went annually for 12 years in a row until Alberto Nisman, the federal prosecutor, was murdered. I haven’t returned since.

I follow you on Instagram and I love the videos of your early morning dips. Is this part of a ritual or is it your way of provoking people?
I have some amazing lithographs by Courtois. I discovered them in a poetic cinema season in France, they mean so much to me. Artistically speaking, my most valuable piece is by Edgar Degas.

If you weren’t a professional treasure hunter, what do you think you would have been?
Maybe my life would have been different because of my sexual orientation. But me being me I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d be exactly as I am now.

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The Real Ones: Elena

Elena Ruiz, the moniker for contemporary art in Ibiza

By Laura Martinez
Photos: Maria Andreu

Everyone should be obliged to have a conversation with Elena Ruiz. She is the director of the Ibiza Contemporary Art Museum (MACE) and hails from the Castilla region in Spain, although she emanates a peaceful and Ibiza-like aura at the same time. She is a strong- willed person who arrived on the island with a mission to bring order to the local art scene. She was 30 when she started at MACE (I’m also 30 years old and I can’t even sort out my Netflix account) and although she was inexperienced, she quickly realised what needed to be done. Elena also manages the Puget Museum and the Casa Broner Museum, which are both situated in the heart of Ibiza’s Old Quarter.

How does a native of Soria end up as the director of the Ibiza Contemporary Art Museum?

“Well, I fell in love with someone from the island and I had to work to survive so I gave classes to keep me going. In 1990 I passed an Ibiza region administrative examination and I started working at the museum. It had been closed since 1984 and I didn’t have any experience, so you can imagine how hard it was to get it up and running. I was 30 and totally unprepared for this huge task, but I put my heart and soul into it.”

Where does your love of art come from?

“My parents loved Soria, my hometown. They were a very close couple, and when my brothers and I were children they’d prepare a basket with breaded fillets and hot soup and we would go out together and investigate the countryside. We roamed 19th-century palaces, medieval defence towers, Roman bridges etc. This was the time before Google so we oriented by map and took photos. My father also published articles in the Celtiberia magazine. Art has always formed a part of my daily life, but when I went on a trip to Toledo aged 14, it was then that something clicked in my head and I decided to study art.”

What has been the hardest part of your time at the museum?

“Public office means that you are constantly battling with political institutions. When you are young and full of energy you want to eat the world, before realising that there is no budget for your ambitions. I had to get a museum started without any help, but I meet wonderful people with whom I created long-lasting synergies and relationships. I learned to work hard with what I had and I finally managed to achieve my objective: the museum that we see before us.”

Not content with resting on your laurels, you went on to open the Puget Museum before converting Edwin Broner’s house into a museum. How did you come up with this superb idea?
“Edwin Broner was a German architect and painter. His widow, Gisela, lived in the house to a ripe old age, you should visit the house because it is truly beautiful.

The house is situated in Sa Penya, a neighbourhood in Ibiza that had become a bit of a slum district. The house was practically a bunker because she was so frightened of people trying to get in. Gisela didn’t have the money to continue living there so I came up with an idea.

We would buy her paintings and the money we raised would go towards paying social services for round the clock medical care.Her final years were dignified and she was very grateful for our help. I promised Gisela that the house would become a museum because it was
very well conserved. There are many photos from the 60s which helped G us to recreate everything as it was at the time. I made the museum plan
and with Ramon Ollé, the municipal architect at the time, we set things
in motion.”

Out of all the exhibitions that you have hosted in MACE, which one do you remember the most, and which remained in the pipeline?
“I have always tried to bring international artists that are connected with Ibiza, or least with the island’s values. I remember Douglas Gordon and Tobias Rehberger’s joint exhibition “After The After”, a critique of how much Ibiza’s nightlife had changed. It was very entertaining because it turned up being a performance. They kept sending me out to get beer taps and other weird stuff that only made sense once you saw the exhibition. I’m gutted that we couldn’t get James Turrell, who is something of a deity in the art world, for economic reasons only.”

In 2018 Concept Hotel Group opened the doors of Paradiso Art Hotel, which has a gallery, rotating art exhibitions in its lobby and rooms dedicated to different artists. What do you think about this way of bringing art to the tourist experience?

“I think it’s a fabulous idea, other sectors need to get people closer to art, as this helps to attract a specific type of client.” Warhol said: “Art is what you can get away with”.

For Elena Ruiz, what is art?
“It’s a mystery. It’s something that takes you from the real world and puts you in contact with something that is purely spiritual. A work of art can knock you out and shake you up. It’s a moving experience that is profoundly divine and human at the same time.”

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The Real Ones: Ricardito

Ricardito, vida y milagros de un cubano

By Pablo Burgués

To be honest, personally, salsa, merengue, bachata and all other kinds of music designed to dirty dancing just don’t cut it for me. So, when I was asked to write an article about a Cuban singer called Ricardito, well I almost keeled over. Anyway, I checked him out on YouTube and after a couple of days watching him perform, I can now say that I absolute love this man and I’m totally down with salsa. 

Ricardito isn’t just any old musician, he’s an absolute fucking legend of Cuban music and a reference within the world of latin music. His career spans more than 40 years, and he has played with the very best: Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdés, Los Panchos, María Dolores Pradera, El Puma… Ok well, maybe El Puma isn’t as great as others, but he makes the list for his amazing hair.

Having toured and played across the world, Ricardito came to Ibiza in 1993 with the intention of playing a couple of concerts in Teatro Pereyra. Fast forward 25 years and he is still on the island, and you can see him play at Cubanito, the Little Havana of the Mediterranean.

¿Qué tiene Ibiza que no te echan de aquí ni con agua caliente?
El cariño de la gente, son ellos los que no me dejan irme (risas).Y también mi mujer, que aunque es catalana la conocí aquí.

Un cubano y una catalana se encuentran en Ibiza… ¡Parece el comienzo de un chiste!
¿Fue fácil para el ron enamorar al cava?
No fue nada fácil pero le canté unos boleros y cayó en el gancho. Y hasta el sol de hoy.

What does Ibiza have that makes it impossible for you to leave?
The warmth of the people, they are the ones who won’t let me leave, (laughter) And also my wife, who is Catalan but whom I met here.

A Cuban and a Catalan meet in Ibiza, seems like the start of a joke! Was it hard for rum and cava to mix together?
Not it wasn’t easy at all but I sang some songs and she fell in love with me bit by bit.
After so much time on the island can we say that you Balearic Cuban?
No I’m still 110% Cuban, although it’s clear that I love a lot of things about Ibiza, such sofrit pagès (Ibizan country stew), and the phrase “T’estim molt” (I love you loads).

What does Cubanito Hotel mean to you?

It is a place with a lot of soul and it reminds me of Cuba so much that I feel like I am at home. The hotel’s directors, the team and the people that come to enjoy my songs… All of them
give me the warmth and joy that every artist needs. It’s marvellous that there is a place like this in San Antonio, where you can enjoy live, traditional Cuban music, that provides so much enjoyment and heartfelt moment! (laughter).

Which artist would you like to do a duet with, and which song would you choose?
Man, you are making life difficult! Omara Portuondo, Alexander Abreu, Isaac Delgado, La Trova Santiaguera… So many great artists! The song would be one that transmits positive feelings and happiness, for example “Dos Gardenias”.

I read on the internet that you studied to be a teacher, then you were a lathe operator in the Cuban Navy and then you became a singer.
Next time we meet what will you be? An astronaut?

(Laughter) I’ll still be a singer, “Zapatero a sus zapatos” as my song “Te digo ahorita” says.

Have you got anything else to say to before we shut up shop.
I’d love to give thanks to all the people who have made it possible to bring this little part of Cuba to Ibiza, the island that has taken me in as another Ibicencan.

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The Real Ones: Pedro

Pedro Planells, the leather biker

By Pablo Burgués

Once upon a time there was a young Ibicencan boy named Pedro, who
in 1960 fell madly in love with an English girl named Didi. In order to win her heart, he decided to give her a leather belt, made with his own hands. This worked so well that they eventually got married, and he ended up working for people like Armani and Valentino. Such a cool character deserves an interview, so let’s go.

Hello Don Pedro, why was that belt so successful?
Truth be told it was horrible. I made it with a piece of old leather that I found, and as I didn’t have the money to buy a buckle, I placed a door hinge on it instead. Picture that for a moment… yep it was awful!

It can’t have been that bad if you ended up selling them in the best shops in London.
Well, I got lucky. In 1968 we went on holiday to England, and one day we went out to dinner with some of Didi’s friends. She was wearing the belt that I had made and they loved it. I don’t know who they talked to who, and still don’t know how, but I ended up selling them in George Best’s shop. I then started to get calls from the Harrods boutique and a lot of other places.

How long did your London adventure last? 
I went there about 40 times, and the longest time I was there was for a year and a half. I never liked city life, so one day I just closed it all down and opened a small store in San Antonio (Ibiza).

How was your business here in Ibiza?
Very good, I had 4 or 5 shops across the island, but I also got
tired of running them. I wanted to work when I felt like it, and live a quiet life, so I closed them all except for the shop in Ibiza centre.

The legendary Pedro’s shop was an obligatory stop for the jetsetters who arrived on the island. What was the secret of your success? Giving out free drugs?
Well, everyone who left the shop were laughing and dancing so they could not complain. (Laughter). The truth is that the shop was a show, with a very baroque and decadent window display. It attracted so much attention that everyone, rich and poor, came in to browse.

At this time you also ended up working for designers like Valentino, Giorgio Armani and Jean Paul Gaultier … What exactly did you do for them?
For Gaultier I made all the accessories for one of his fashion shows in Paris: bags, belts, etc. Giorgio Armani loved my sandals, so I made him a custom-made pair. Later on that year he was in a magazine wearing these same sandals, and the store filled with Italians who wanted a pair of them as well.

What is it about leather for you to have dedicated 50 years of your life to it?
I don’t know how to do anything else! (Laughter). The truth is that I really liked leather in the past, but I’m 75 years old now and I dedicate myself to a Harley Davidson Softail 1600 c.c.

To finish, can you work with leather and not be a hippie?

No. Artisans have a very unconventional life, one day you have money and the next you’ve got nothing. I was very good at working with leather, but it is not a normal life, so in order to be dedicated to this line of work you have to be a free spirit, and be willing to always live life on a tightrope.

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