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Spain celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Eduardo Chilleda

Spain celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Eduardo Chilleda

“My father loved to sit under this oak tree to observe and contemplate his work,” says Luis Chillida. There is something peaceful and soothing about the place. His gaze wanders wistfully over the mountainous green, where dozens of exquisite iron sculptures by Eduardo Chilleda (1924-2002) are scattered. He was born 100 years ago on this day, January 10th.

In fact, simple abstract works do not fit into this landscape at all. But they enter into a dialogue with nature and ancient trees in a way that is both mysterious and natural at the same time. The sculptures give the place something magical and almost mystical. This is exactly what made Chillida one of the most important sculptors of the twentieth century.

Like no other artist, he created a very special relationship between his works and the place in which they were displayed, says his son Louis. Nowhere is this more evident than here in “Chilida Leco”, a twelve-hectare open-air museum in Hernani on Spain’s North Atlantic coast near San Sebastián, through which Chilida fulfilled his own lifelong dream. In 2000.

The center of the sculpture garden is an old farmhouse from the 16th century, which is used for exhibitions. The “Universo Maeght” exhibition runs here until mid-April, creating dialogues between Chillida's works and those of his artist friends such as Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miro. But the exhibition is just the beginning of a series of special exhibitions with which Spain will celebrate Chilleda until 2025. From San Sebastian via Bilbao and Valladolid to Minorca, exhibitions and anniversary events take place throughout the year.

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But Chillida is also celebrated abroad. The Würth Künzelsau Museum is displaying works by Anthony Caro and Eduardo Chilleda in Germany until October. Starting in March, the Galería de Arte of the University of Santiago de Chile will highlight his work, while the San Diego Museum of Art in the USA “Eduardo Chillida: Covergence” will display his sculptures and works on paper, some of which already exist. On display until September 2023, Krems can be seen in the show “Gravity.”

Anniversary exhibitions should be primarily about conveying Chillida's sensibility, his creative process, his philosophy of life and art and his values, explains Luis Chillida, president of the Chillida Foundation, in an interview with APA. It is also about showing his moral values ​​and belief in equality, tolerance and freedom, which are expressed in all his works.

“He was an honest, deep, thoughtful, contemplative person. You can see that in all his work,” says Luis Chillida. He once described himself as an “architect of space” who manipulated space and volume, light and darkness, fullness and emptiness in his monumental yet minimalist abstract works.

To create his sculptures, he often used materials such as steel, stone and concrete, which have a strong connection to the landscape. He often worked with basic shapes such as circles, spheres, cubes and cylinders. “For my father, it was important above all to display his works in public spaces in order to democratize art and make it visible and tangible for everyone,” explains Luis Chillida.

Chileda's steel sculptures, which weigh several tons, can be seen in public spaces and landscapes around the world this year. From the famous “Wind Hills” on the rocky coast of San Sebastian to the Olympic Park in Lausanne, Switzerland, to the 90-ton steel “Berlin” statue in front of the Berlin Chancellery, which symbolizes both separation and reunification.

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Chillida's minimalist style and connection with the landscape are still considered an inspiration to many contemporary artists today.

(By Manuel Mayer/APA)

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