The Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre in Seville: Old Buildings and Modern Art

Cloister at the Contemporary Arts Centre, Seville
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Even rain has its advantages. If it had not been quite so wet, we might not have sought shelter in the fourteenth century Monasterio de la Cartuja. And so we would have missed a fascinating morning exploring the Andalusian Contemporary Arts Centre in Seville. Locally known as CAAC (Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo), the centre holds exhibitions of modern within the old monastery buildings.  

Cloister of the Monasterio de la Cartuja, Seville
Walking through the old cloisters at the Contemporary Arts Centre

Monasterio de la Cartuja

Also known as the Monasterio de Nuestra Señora Santa Maria de Las Cuevas, the monastery has had a long and varied history. In ancient times the site was used to extract clay for pottery, but the first monastery was built here by the Franciscans in 1399. In later centuries it was variously a Carthusian establishment, a temporary burial site for Christopher Columbus, and a barracks during the Napoleonic Wars.

Courtyard at the Contemporary Arts Centre, Seville
We didn’t entirely miss the rain, as some of the courtyards were outside!
Icon at the Contemporary Arts Centre, Seville
An original icon from the monastery

The building fell into disuse, until it was purchased by an English merchant in 1840. Recalling its earliest use, it was transformed into a porcelain and ceramics factory. La Cartuja china became famous and won many awards. The factory ceased production in the 1980s.

La Cartuja ceramics factory, Seville
The chimneys of the old ceramics factory are still visible

Exhibitions at the Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre

Finally the monastery became the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, which today houses a number of contemporary exhibitions. But many of the features of the original monastery remain, creating an often stunning contrast between modern and mediaeval.

Modern art and medieval ceiling, Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre, Seville
The modern sculpture makes an intriguing contrast with the medieval surroundings

At the time of our visit, there were displays by a number of modern artists. The major exhibition was of the controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, including his famous Sunflower Seeds, formerly exhibited at London’s Tate Modern. A number of his works were made from porcelein, which seemed appropriate in this setting!

Porcelein Jars, Contemporary Arts Centre, Seville
A number of Weiwei’s works were made from porcelain

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7 thoughts on “The Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre in Seville: Old Buildings and Modern Art”

  1. Nicki Sanders

    What beautiful images. A great way to spend a rainy day — or any day. Like Julie, I love the diversity and varied interests of the Ultimate Blog Challenge bloggers.

  2. What a fascinating place! I love the contrast between the art itself and the art of the venue. Made both seem to much more…. well, they are awesome on their own… I think the word I am looking for is sacred. Honored.

    I love how the Ultimate Blog Challenge introduces me to so many interesting blogs and bloggers… like you!

  3. What lovely images! And how unexpected the beauty is, when we allow ourselves to follow paths we might not have taken had we not been forced to change plans 🙂 Thank you for this great post and pictures of how you shifted and stayed open to possibility.

  4. If you haven't already been to Seville, you really want to book a trip! Apart from the museum, there is so much to love in the city. You'd have a great time.

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About Karen

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren. I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 60 countries at the last count). I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica (I still hope to get there one day…), and my current favourite destinations are Italy, Spain and North America. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way.

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