Chillida, conversations with your time

Saint Sebastian,

Still immersed in the commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Eduardo Chillida, the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián joins the celebration program with an exhibition, curated by María Bolaños, which wants to question certain mantras held around his sculpture as a timeless work, completely personal and recognizable, difficult to approach from other approaches than exceptionality.

“Chillida in conversation” seeks to provide context to his production, understanding that every artist is a child of his time and that, by relating and confronting his aesthetics and interests with those of contemporary authors, we will be able to link his concerns with those that were then circulating internationally. in the field of plastic arts but also in philosophy, music, architecture and other disciplines; It must be taken into account that the author of Praise of the horizon He was, above all, a curious and intellectually reflective man, beyond his sculptural work.

This exhibition focuses on two fundamental decades in the Basque’s career, but also on the reformulation of languages ​​in European art after World War II: it delves into the period between the fifties and the seventies, when his own most common medium, sculpture, left aside a good number of conventions and a certain lethargy to adopt radical materials, forms and modes of presentation. It was a time, therefore, marked by experimentation, in which the achievements of any artist should not be dissociated from crossed debates and mutually feeding voices.

The assembly of this project has been conceived, precisely, from the desire to highlight these conversations and exchanges, although without emphasizing the ties of the represented creators with defined currents or with more or less organized groups: common searches, even obsessions, are accentuated. shared, that were part of the air of the moment but that did not necessarily fall under the umbrella of labels.

Aurelia Muñoz.  Infinity, 1977. Macua Roy Collection

The tour brings together nearly a hundred works by European and American artists in different disciplines, including photography, dance, experimental theater, fashion and cinema. We will also contemplate, of course, sculptures: by those who were fundamentally painters but did not stop making incursions into three dimensions (Picasso, Miró); of whom we can consider founders of this art in contemporary times, largely due to a treatment of space in which Chillida also delved (Arp, Julio González); of key representatives of sculptural figuration at that post-war moment (Alberto Giacometti, Baltasar Lobo, the French Germaine Richier); of essential names of the British scene, who linked their pieces to the body and the landscape (Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore); or the promoters of iron sculpture (Anthony Caro, Tony Smith).

Informalists and abstract expressionists contemporary to Chillida will also come to meet us, such as Motherwell, Dubuffet or Millares; artists who, in very diverse media, from weaving to felt, invented personal codes (Joseph Beuys, Aurèlia Muñoz, John Chamberlain, Elena Asins) and others of whom much remains to be investigated (Lola Bosshard, María Paz Jiménez, Moisès Villèlia). Among those who worked in the field of the image and the body, there have been the filmmakers Yasujiro Ozu and Robert Bresson, the photographers Harry Callahan, Ilse Bing and Cartier-Bresson and the legacy of the choreographers Merce Cunningham and Marta Graham -It is worth remembering that Chillida dedicated hundreds of drawings and engravings to the hands, as something more than a portion of anatomy: as a member capable of capturing space by opening and closing.

All of them configure in San Telmo a map of the international avant-garde, a network of affinities and synchronicities: a conversation between contemporaries with the language of their time. Although there have been many lending institutions, the contributions of the Chillida Leku, the Gulbenkian Modern Art Center of Lisbon and the Reina Sofía Museum stand out.

Alla Kovgan.  Cunningham.  2019. Courtesy of Merce Cunningham Trust

Ilse Bing.  Silhouette of branches,1955.  Courtesy of International Center of Photography

“A conversation: Chillida and the arts. 1950-1970”


Plaza Zuloaga, 1

Saint Sebastian

From June 8 to September 29, 2024

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