Felanitx, Mallorca, 1957
Mixed technique on canvas, 200 x 300 cm
Acquired in 2002
The still life genre is one that Barceló has repeatedly explored. In the case of Des potirons, painted in the artist’s Parisian studio, the main interest of the work lies in its matter. The dense mixture of paint and wood pulp is applied all over the surface of the canvas, achieving a texture characterised by centrifugal rhythms and earthy properties. Barceló often introduces elements extraneous to painting in his compositions—such as the pumpkin seeds and cigarette ends in this work—that configure a sort of organic vanitas to evoke the transmutation of matter that alludes to the passage of time. Speaking of this painting in March 1998, Barceló said, "My new picture! — of pumpkins. I remember when I used to paint white pictures (...). It’s the same today with pumpkins, onions and tomatoes. It’s as if they were suddenly the only things one could paint (...). The same anxiety, the familiarity with the mechanisms, nothing changes." Miquel Barceló is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Spanish art. After training at the School of Decorative Arts in Palma and at the Fine Arts School in Barcelona, he soon achieved international acclaim as a result of his participation in the 1981 edition of the São Paulo Biennial and in Documenta 7 in Kassel the following year. His sojourns in various European countries, the United States and Mali have marked a prolific career devoted to painting, sculpture, drawings and prints, set designs, murals and ceramics. [M.G.M.]
Independently of its permanent collection, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum regularly organises temporary exhibition programmes.
Please consult the exhibition calendar for more information about the museum's latest proposals.
Basque sculptor Néstor Basterretxea (Bermeo, Biscay, 1924) recently donated one of the most celebrated series of Basque sculptures dating from the second half of the XX century to the Museum: the Basque Cosmogony Series. The Series was first exhibited by the Museum in 1973.
The current exhibition comprises 18 sculptures, 17 of which are made of oak and 1 of bronze, which the artist created between 1972 and 1975. The finely crafted works executed in contemporary language are based on mythological characters, forces of nature and traditional objects from Basque culture taken from José Miguel de Barandiarán’s Diccionario de Mitología Vasca (Dictionary of Basque Mythology, 1972). Visitors will also have the opportunity of admiring 5 works from the Máscaras de la Madrina Luna Series created in 1977 as well as several preparatory drawings.
It is also on exhibition two movies directed by Néstor Basterretxea and Fernando Larruquert, entitled Pelotari (1964) and Ama Lur (1968), and a documental about the artist.
BASQUE COSMOGONY SERIES
1. AKELARRE and AKER BELTZ (Black billy goat)
Meadow where wizards met on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights to worship Aker Beltz, a spirit which took the shape of a billy goat and protected the livestock. Pagan tradition.
3. EIZTARIA (The hunter)
Legend has it that a hunter, punished for his excessive love of hunting, wanders ceaselessly over the mountains with his dogs.
4. GAUEKO (He who stalks the night)
Spirit of the night in the shape of a cow or a monster; his presence is marked by gusts of wind.
5. IDITTU (Night spirit)
Night spirit with the form of an animal; his presence is marked by a flame.
6. ILLARGI AMANDRE (Godmother Moon)
A divinity associated with fertility.
7. INTXIXU (Wild demon)
Legendary spirit haunting caves and deserted areas.
8. AMALAU ZANKO (The ghost of the fourteen stilts)
A strange malignant being.
9. ARGIZAIOLA eta ARGIZAIOLA ZUTA (Light of the dead)
Tablets in remembrance of the departed; the wax scroll symbolizes the fire in the hearth that lives on in the temple.
11. BOST HAIZEAK (The five winds)
Natural phenomenon. The lauburu (four heads) is a pre-Christian symbol, used from the 16th and 17th centuries in funeral steles, on houses fronts or as an amulet or charm.
12. EATE (The harvest destroyer)
Spirit of storms, fire, floods, lightning and hurricanes.
13. MAIRUAK (The cromlech builders)
Pagan builders of dolmens and cromlechs.
14. OSTADAR (Rainbow)
Natural phenomenon considered to be magical in the ancient world.
15. TRIKU HARRI (Stone of the hedgehog. Homage to the dolmen)
Name of a dolmen, a prehistoric monument widely found in the Basque Country.
16. MAJUE (Subterranean spirit)
Pernicious underground spirit; with his wife Mari he conjures up hailstorms.
17. MARI (Main goddess of Basque Mythology)
Female spirit living in caverns. Legend has it that her cave is one of the faces of Mount Amboto, in the Duranguesado area.
18. TORTO (Malign one-eyed spirit)
Malignant, man-eating spirit with one eye.
THE GUEST WORK
01|15|14 • 04|07|14
01|24|14 • 04|28|14
02|18|14 • 05|19|14
06|10|14 • 09|15|14
10|07|14 • 01|19|15
09|23|13 • 02|17|14
10|07|13 • 01|26|14
10|24|13 • 01|12|14