Eduardo Chillida

For the acclaimed sculptor Eduardo Chillida on the 20th anniversary of his death and in collaboration with the Chillida-Leku museum, the fe26 project hosts three activities.


Activity 1 – The presentation of Chillida’s visual practice will highlight his origins, his sources of inspiration, the socio-political context in which he acted. Emphasis will be placed on the identity of his projects based on the element of spatial response (site-specificity) based on geographical, geopolitical and environmental parameters. And finally, his relationship with the philosopher Martin Heidegger will be highlighted.

Activity 2 – Starting with Chillida, the discussion successively approaches Cultural heritage in a wider cross-cultural field. It will focus on individual elements such as the experiences of the artist, the environment in which he lived and was influenced by, the cultural identity of the area where he grew up and developed as an artist, the socio-political and historical context of his time, and of course the material with which he worked on and the techniques he used in his visual repertoire.

Activity 3 – Organization of a workshop based on the works of Eduardo Chillida and his special relationship with space and place. The artist incorporates the environment into his work and challenges the viewer to appropriate and experience the place and his creation with his body and perception. According to his friend M. Heidegger, E.Chillida sets boundaries in space and in this way creates spaces.

He was a restless spirit, a pioneering sculptor, an ardent exponent of phenomenological thought and the spirit of the Basque people. The material that best expressed him was iron, as it has been mined from the Pyrenees for centuries. “When we entered the forge it was now clear that I was right” Chillida
Eduardo Chillida

Born in 1924 in San Sebastian, Basque Country, one of the autonomous communities of Spain, his art was inextricably linked to his childhood experiences, the natural landscape of his homeland, the tradition and spirit of its people. In 1948 in Paris he started his career as an architect but soon he became involved in sculpture. Plaster, clay and stone were the materials of his first experiments.

Studying Cycladic art and the human body, the sculptures of the first years of his creation were limited to the representation of busts and trunks. Soon, however, he began to have doubts. “Suddenly I realized that I did not belong in the white light of Greece. I felt lost because I belonged in a place with dark light. The Atlantic is dark, the Mediterranean is not.’ His return to his hometown, San Sebastian, in 1951 marked a new period in his creative path, as there he managed to discover the material that could best express the spirit of his culture. Iron was a traditional material for the Basque culture. During his search, E. Chillida visited a smithy in a village just outside of San Sebastian. Then, the sculptor confirmed his decision: “When we entered the forge it was now clear that I was right. Everything was black. That’s where I discovered iron.”

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