San Sebastián, 1924 - 2002
Wrought iron, 28.5 x 63 x 25 cm
Acquired in 2003
Chillida’s work varied between what we might term informalist calligraphy (in other words, rapid, continuous lines and traces) and more compact forms of "imprecise geometry" close to spatialist techniques and concerns. The variation in style from work to work often depended on the media used, the sculptor being particularly sensitive to the different plastic values of his preferred materials, iron, wood, alabaster, concrete and terracotta. Trembling Irons II is part of a group of sculptures Chillida exhibited in Paris in 1956 and which brought him international recognition. Clearly appreciable in the work is the linear development of the iron, its incisive graphic nature, and the associations with the labours of the blacksmiths who produced farm tools, arms and other primitive instruments. Indeed, Trembling Irons II seems to "abstract" the shape of a plough, converting it into a sign pointing to the infinite and thus transforming it into an object of metaphysical significance. What the artist conveys is the arduous search for exacting expression, by using cast iron, which takes time and no little effort to transform, to transfer the flexible development of spontaneous graphics into physical space. Although Chillida originally studied architecture in Madrid, he soon turned to sculpture. After a sojourn in Paris, he returned to the Basque Country in 1951. In 1958 he won the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennial. Heir to a tradition of sculpture in iron launched by Picasso, Julio González and Pablo Gargallo, Chillida is one of the essential sculptors of the second half of the 20th century. His collaboration with philosophers such as Heidegger and Cioran and poets of the stature of Jorge Guillén give an idea of the essentialist leanings of his work as a whole. [J.V.]
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.
12|10|14 • 04|20|15
THE GUEST WORK
01|13|15 • 04|13|15
02|10|15 • 05|18|15
10|28|14 • 02|09|15
10|07|14 • 01|19|15
09|23|14 • 01|12|15