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Exploring the Museu d'Art Contemporani

Art, history and architecture in Ibiza Town & the Dalt Vila

Featured in: | Anita Gait, Ibiza Reporter | Published

The MACE contemporary arts museum in Ibiza town is worth a visit for the building itself as much as for the extensive art collection within.

Located inside the walls of Ibiza’s old town the MACE museum is by necessity a work of clever architecture. To build something large enough to house the impressive collection within whilst remaining sympathetic to the history and appearance of the old town has taken some skill. Housed in a two-part building which blends ancient and modern, the MACE building is a sight to behold. The old section of the building dates back to the 18th century and was once the powder store and armoury of the hill top fortress. Whilst perusing the artwork displayed there you can look out through windows set into the vast stone walls of the city, seeing not only the thickness of the stone walls themselves but also beautiful views out over the old town.

The new section of the building was designed by Victor Beltran Roca, he extended it downwards as much as possible in order to maximise space without imposing too much upon the surrounding area. During the extension work the building project turned into an archaeological one when remains of ancient civilisations were found under the foundations. The plan for the new building was adapted around these discoveries and they were put on permanent display within the museum. As such visitors will see that the floor of the museum is made of glass allowing guests to look down upon the remains of dwellings, walls and rooms from various periods in Ibizan history all preserved below the glass.

looking through the glass to the ancient dwellings below at MACE ibiza town

If you’re there for the art and not the architecture, you will not find yourself disappointed; the MACE museum is home to a large collection of works both permanent and temporary, it showcases pieces in a variety of mediums from paintings to photography, sculpture to audio visual work. Most of the art housed here has an Ibizan connection and a lot of it stems from the 60s and 70s,an artistically rich time in the islands history.

At the time of my visit 71 artists were on display in the permanent collection alone and in addition there was a temporary exhibition The Spinario Games, by Ignacio Gomez de Liano. This fascinating exhibit is described as “poetic experimentation” and was conceived of by the artist whilst on the island of Ibiza in 1972. This exhibit runs until the 5th June 2016.

The Mariano Yera Collection was also on display and will remain so until the 9th April 2017. Showcasing work by Spanish artists spanning half a century, the entire collection is comprised of 150 works by 60 artists; a representative selection of them is displayed here in the MACE.  

The mariano yera collection at MACE ibiza town

As you wander around the museum, you’ll find most of the explanatory notes and information beside the works are in Spanish and Catalan however you’ll find printed notes in a variety of languages, be sure to pick these up; the leaflets hold a wealth of information.

Take your time wandering around this beautiful building with is captivating displays, you could lose and hour or two in here easily. If you want to take a break there are sofas and chairs dotted around and a open air terrace on the 2nd floor with benches and flowers and a view out over the old town. There is also a reading room packed full of art history and reference books for your perusal, the majority are in Spanish but there are some in English, French and German too.

If you want to take some art history home with you then hit the gift shop before you leave, there are many books available as well as some locally made clothing and jewellery, bags, cards and posters plus a collections of Ibizan salt and oil products.

Entrance to the museum is free and photography is allowed so long as you don’t use a flash, visitors are asked to leave their bags in free lockers in the reception.

Opening hours are;

  • April, May, June, September:10am-2pm Tuesday-Sunday, 5pm-8pm Tuesday – Friday
  • July, August: 10am-2pm Tuesday - Sunday, 6pm-9pm Tuesday – Friday
  • October – March: 10am-4.30pm Tuesday – Friday, 10am-2pm Saturday and Sunday.

Always closed on Mondays and holidays.

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