Isla del Rey, which translates to “the King’s Island,” is a four-hectare Mediterranean isle of crystal-clear waters, blue skies, and arid land. A 15-minute boat ride from the port of Mahón, on Spain’s Minorca, the island is home to the ruins of a sixth-century basilica as well as a former naval hospital, constructed by Minorca’s British occupiers in the early 18th century. Starting Monday, Isla del Rey will welcome Hauser & Wirth’s newest art gallery.
A conservation effort to restore Isla del Rey’s abandoned naval-hospital building had begun in 2005, and when longtime island visitors Iwan and Manuela Wirth stumbled upon the ruins of the hospital’s auxiliary buildings shortly after, they decided to contribute. “Like so many times in our gallery life,” Iwan explains, “these places choose us. Opportunities find us.” They envisioned a gallery.