NMAC contemporary art foundation, an open-air museum in Andalusia

The Montenmedio Foundation is located in the natural and rural environment of Dehesa de Montenmedio, in Vejer de la Frontera (southwest of Cadiz). Artists from around the world have created projects that the visitor can discover along a route through the Mediterranean forest. A unique cultural reference in Spain.

Traduction | Céline Nickmans
4 minutes
VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC
© Daniel Schäfer | Human Nests . Marina Abramovic – 2001.

This unique space, surrounded by wild olive trees, cork oaks, pine trees and impressive views, has managed to link contemporary art without compromising the natural aesthetics of this exceptional environment.

The Foundation’s mission and objectives.

The main objective is to provide a vision of contemporary art in which the natural landscape plays a fundamental role. International artists have been invited to create specific art projects appropriate to the environment. Among the works exhibited are sculptures, architectural projects in nature, photographs, videos, paintings….

In addition to the projects that “belong” to the site, the pine forest and the exhibition halls are constantly changing with new pieces, courtesy of galleries, foundations but also artists as in the case of the installation of “The Innocence of Animals.”

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

The innocence of Animals. 2013. Adrian Villar Rojas

Educational and cultural program

In addition to the exhibitions, the NMAC Foundation offers guided tours and workshops for school children, including the Environmental Workshop, an educational project to make young people more environmentally conscious, who become true explorers in the company of their parents. While visiting the sculpture park, participants can discover the plant and animal species present in the Mediterranean forest and learn about different methods of observation and conservation of the natural environment.

Visitors are also offered lectures, poetry readings and educational materials.


The former military posts, restored and placed on “hard” structures, house a magnificent bibliographic collection of more than 4,000 books, growing by the day. The library of the Montenmedio Contemporary Foundation is a documentation center specializing in Land Art, national and international natural art centers and contemporary art. There are also many specialized magazines, such as FlashArt, Artforum, Parkett….

The works

More than 40 artists have carried out projects there, about 20 of which have permanent works in the collection.

1 / “Sky’s Impression” by Gunilla Bandolin, Swedish sculptor/landscape artist

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Inès Prioux de B | “Sky’s Impression”. 2001

This project was born out of the comparison between the rainy and fertile months and the dry and sweltering ones. The water tanks were the only architectural structure that existed in Montenmedio; from the top of the site one can see several white Andalusian villages and the entire mountain range of the province of Cadiz. The sculptor adapted her project to the terrain and the result is a work of art that lends itself to meditation and silence.

Being aware of the different sounds of the environment, contemplating the changes of light on the water that constantly flows in the center.

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Daniel Schäfer

2/ Quasi brick Wall” – Olafur Eliasson

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Daniel Schäfer | “Quasi brick Wall”. 2002

The Danish artist, a leading figure in the contemporary art world, has created a slightly curved wall of stacked ceramic quasi-bricks.

To the south, the inner curve of bricks is covered with mirrors placed at different angles that reflect the sun and the natural environment.

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Pauline Rutté

The artist invented a new type of fired clay brick, a model of a geometric figure in the form of a dodecahedron, which fulfills the functions of the “almost perfect” geometric model. The combination of regular and irregular shapes gives an impression of controlled chaos.

Closer to home, the brand new rooftop restaurant on the roof of the So-Paris hotel, the Paris Society group’s signature restaurant, Bonnie, is a must-see address of the moment.

Outside, the terrace and Olafur Eliasson-drawn mirror ceiling offer unparalleled views of the rooftops of Paris.

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Ariane David | Restaurant Bonnie, Paris, miroirs by Olafur Eliasson

3/ “Bridge”, Shen Yuan

Graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Shen Yuan belongs to the most radical avant-garde generation of the 1980s.

After the repression of Tian’anmen, she moved to Paris with her husband, the artist Huang Yong Ping. In France, she developed an artistic language all her own, fueled by her experience as a non-Western woman in the West.

For the NMAC Foundation, she chose a bridge in blue and white ceramics with Chinese and Arabic motifs, symbolizing the union between two very different cultures, Chinese culture on the one hand and Spanish culture with its Islamic reminiscences on the other, as a reflection of the past. The artist tries to convey the message of the difficulties, the obstacles imposed by cultural and language differences that sometimes hinder understanding between people.

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Inès Prioux de B | Shen Yuan. Bridge. 2004

4/ “Second Wind”

In this project, American James Turrell has succeeded in creating the illusion that the sky is just beyond our reach, blurring the line between matter and emptiness.

To enter the sky is to come closer to the immensity of the cosmos, raising questions about the difference between vision and perception.

The artist is considered a pioneer in the research and study of perception and light.

The sky space project is formed by a truncated pyramid-shaped structure beneath the earth, which contains a kind of standing stūpa. The inner space is accessed through a tunnel, with an opening in the upper part from which the sky can be seen. From the outside, only the upper part of the pyramid is visible, as the entire structure is covered by the earth.

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Daniel Schäfer | “Second Wind, 2005”. 2009

5/ “Human Nests”, by Serbian artist Marina Abramovic.

Her performances explore the mental and physical limits of human beings.

The “Human Nests” are 7 large cavities carved into the vertical wall of the old sand quarry, just big enough for a human to sit in.

VILLAS Decoration Fondation NMAC

Daniel Schäfer | Human Nests . 2001

Hanging from each hole is a rope ladder made by local artists from native plant fibers. The tallest is 30 meters high. For Marina, these nests are places of contemplation. The nest envelops the person who enters it, giving him a sense of protection, but also of vulnerability and uncertainty, as he must concentrate to avoid falling. This is the largest project the artist has undertaken in his career.

To visit the Foundation for Contemporary Art Montenmedio is to fully immerse oneself in the peace, the fullness, the scents of this great pine forest, of this Andalusian land with the sound of crickets, while discovering, step by step, gigantic, surprising, impressive, colorful works.