The Fundacion NMAC is an open-air non-profit organization and museum space in Southern Spain. NMAC focuses on the unique relationship between nature and contemporary art. The foundation created back in June 2001 holds many international projects by very famous artists, such as James Turrell. The foundation constantly invites artists from all over the world to create site-specific landscape installations and exhibits. The social, historic, geographical, and cultural context of NMAC’s location is all topics the artists focus on in their artworks. Note that the park carries both a permanent and semi-permanent collection.
Located inside a Mediterranean forest, in the area of Vejer de la Frontera. We have the chance to visit this park and check out some of its noteworthy pieces. Here are some of our favorites:
One of the installations is the Bridge by Shen Yuan. The installation is a bridge that stretches into an arch connecting dirt paths. The bridge has blue and white railings on one side but stays open on the other. The steps look harmonious with the setting, following the natural curves and hills of the dirt. The top of the handrails also has tribal markings engraved in blue. The entire bridge style follows that of Spanish-style marble architectural design. Yuan designs this piece to symbolize the coexistence of different cultures through her mixing of Spanish and Islamic designs.
Another installation by James Turrell with the title Secondwind is an architectural piece that’s located underground. The piece hides inside a pyramid. The piece itself is a circular dome which, is also known as a stupa; floating on an infinity pool. Stupas are used to make the sky and stars appear closer. The point of this installation is to allow visitors to sit inside the dome and watch how the light changes and affects perception.
Additionally, Sky’s Impression by architect Gunilla Bandolin is another piece that we love. The art takes the shape of a stadium with steps deescalating into the center. There is a hole at the bottom, and the whole structure looks like a mini-stadium. The inspiration behind this piece is giant water tanks which are very common to see in Montenmedio. The dimensions of this piece are the same as those water tanks that can hold 1,750,000 liters of rainfall each year.
QUASI BRICK WALL
The Quasi Brick Wall by Olafur Eliasson is a giant wall made up of many individual dodecahedrons. The shape is an almost perfect geometrical shape and is constructed fully from clay bricks. Mirrors are placed on the individual shapes to shine sunlight. The wall itself has a bit of a curve to it, so when it is sunny out, the sunlight hits in all possible directions.
SALAM – EUROPE!
This piece: Salam-Europe! by Adel Abdessemed is a piece that really speaks volumes. The artwork itself is a big circle formed by barbwire. The artist created this piece to artistically represent the struggle of immigration and crossing borders. He dedicates this piece to the immigrants who try to go over the barbed-wire fence separating Europe from Africa in the city of Melilla, and to the prisoners of war held in Guantanamo. He hopes this piece can be seen by others as a reminder of how lucky some of us are and how we need to strive for a better world.
Similar to Salam, the next artwork called Hammam by artist Huang Yong Ping also share a political message. Located three meters underground is this hammam that is in an old military barracks. The artist of this piece loves to create art that creates tension and juxtaposition. Through this piece, he gives insight to the public by transforming something into the very opposite. It shows how renovating a setting can drastically change it into a new universe. This is our second favorite after the dome installation by James Turrell.
On a more playful approach, Jacobo Castellano created Viga-Madre, a piece that comes from his love for birds and the memories we often keep as we grow up. He creates his art that is a tribute to the thousands of birds that travel every season from the North of Europe to Africa. A birdhouse created with old railway sleepers, similar to the bird loft in the Breña, Barbate.
PLANSONE DUTY FREE
Plansone Duty Free is the next sculpture we visit. Pascale Marthine Tayou creates this art with objects from Cameroon, and other garbage from everyday life found in the province of Cadiz. The piece gives the objects a new life with the aim of reversing massive waste. His goal is to make “pretty art” from items people throw away.
MODIFIED SOCIAL BENCHES
Located in the woods are Jeppe Heins modified social benches. There are a total of 11 benches all conforming to unique shapes. Heins creates these benches with the goal to make them unusable. The artist creates a sense of upset, disturbance, and feeling out of place which allows the audience to think about it.
THE INNOCENCE OF ANIMALS
The innocence of animals by Adrian Villar Rojas is a temporary piece on loan from New York. The meaning behind this piece remains ambiguous which allows the viewers to come up with their own interpretation.
Additionally, another piece that is part of the park’s temporary collection is Madrid Pact by Fernando Sanchez Castillo. This unique artwork is one of the most representative works of Castillo’s career. He calls himself “archeologist of history” and through his pieces, takes viewers through some of the most memorable moments in Spanish History. This particular piece represents the treaty between General Francisco Franco and the United States of America. This moment begins the acceptance of Spain into the European Union and the start of the American military in Spain.
Finally, the last stop of our tour is the trip-Habibi. This piece of art is by Pilar Albarracin and is one of the most relevant in the park. It represents the travel between North African immigrants onto European roads. It is a sight that Albarracin is very familiar with. Growing up, seeing those types of cars in Africa as a symbol of recognition and success coming from Europe. This piece is also on loan and has been presented in numerous international exhibitions including MOMA in NYC.
Visiting the Fundacion NMAC is an incredible experience, with our personal favorite the work by James Turrell. The adventurous open-air nature park makes visitors want to come back every time. The museum brings brilliant minds from all over the world to create amazing masterpieces.