Thz Mandraki Hotel
The Mandraki Hotel.
Wilhelmina’s Art Gallery exhibits contemporary works by International artists on Hydra between June and October. The exhibitions are displayed inside a historic building on Mandraki Beach that was once the Captain’s Mansion. This year the artists displayed are vastly different but share in common supreme technical skill and treat subjects rooted in universal themes, particularly nature, myth, philosophy and dreams.

A love for art, a dynamic mentor in Alex Reding of the Nosbaum Reding Gallery in Luxembourg and a fortunate encounter with the owners of the Mandraki Beach Resort on Hydra gave Wilhelmina von Blumenthal the impulse she needed to kickstart her own gallery. Wilhelmina’s Art Gallery (WAG’s) opens this summer with the Mandraki Art Project minutes away from the DESTE Project Space Slaughterhouse.

Hydra came into my life unexpectedly but very soon a deep-seated desire to contribute to the mythology of the artist surrounding the island took hold of me. Having DESTE up there on that hill showing giants like Koons, Kiki Smith and Kara Walker to mention just a few motivates me in that aspiration. With a lot of help and support from colleagues and friends old and new I’m delighted to say that WAG’s is kicking off with a serious program.

WAG’s will also host talks, performance art and perhaps even some concerts:

The tail wagging the dog is an image I love. I love it because on the one hand it denotes being greater than the sum of ones parts and on the other generosity of spirit, love and energy which are WAG’s core values and is one of my main takeaways from working at Nosbaum Reding.

It was thanks to a meeting of minds with artist and curator Ekaterina Jukowski of the Old Carpet Factory (OFC) Recording Studio and Art Residency on Hydra that the idea for the first WAG’s exhibition took root. Ekaterina was researching the history of the OCF and as she related the story to Wilhelmina, unlikely people and places past, present and future converged in the Italian RCA trained artist Bea Bonafini. In 2021 she had collaborated with Electra Soutzoglou’s Art Rugs Project at Ten Carpets in Athens, the same family that had once owned the OFC weaving business on Hydra from 1922 to 1974. Meanwhile, Bea happened to have a show in Luxembourg with Nosbaum Reding the following week where Wilhelmina was working at the time. The sense of destiny was in the air and after meeting Bonafini and seeing her works, Wilhelmina knew she couldn’t open the gallery with anybody else.

In August 2023 WAG’s will collaborate with the Nosbaum Reding gallery to present its second show—a powerful group exhibition with Manuel Ocampo from the Philippines and the French artist Damien Deroubaix alongside international powerhouse Barthélémy Toguo with whom Wilhelmina worked closely on his retrospective at the Villa Merkel in Germany.

The season will close with a solo by Romain Cadilhon of France, a young Athens-based artist in the Bernier/Eliades programme. Throughout the summer WAGs will display bronze works by the American artist Robert Bodem, founder of the Florence Academy of Arts sculpture program who is now based in Athens.

It’s a strong and varied line-up. Bea’s work is lyrical and intricate, the collective exhibition is punchy and confrontational and my last show is delicate and poetic. I also love sculpture and I am excited to have Richard Bodem on board with me. I can’t wait to see how the next chapter in this story writes itself.