For years, the park magic of the Fondation Chillida, near the small town of Hernani in the back of the basque country, will be opened only for a few privileged few. There flourished the art of abstract and metaphorical of this “sculptor blacksmith”, the nickname given by the philosopher Gaston Bachelard to Eduardo Chillida. Opened to the public in 2000, the “Chillida Leku”, which received up to 100,000 visitors per year, was closed in 2011 by the eight children of the sculptor and his widow, Pilar, weary to bear alone the heavy costs of operation (600.000 euros per year).
The path of Chillida remained open to scholars and lovers of the more adventurous. With a little luck, it is his son Ignacio or his son Luis (the true copy of his father) that you were waiting for with great courtesy, behind the portal, secret of the gods hidden in the bend of a road without a special grace. And there, at a glance, all the ugliness of the nearby village of Hernani, great name ducal spoiled by the industrialization of the Twentieth century, the battles of securities to the royal House and the weight of the ETA, forgot himself. It is there, a little away from the time and of the men, Eduardo Chillida conceived of his own sculpture garden at the end of the 1990s. The sculpture and its eternal rhythm had found their kingdom, as green as the gardens of paradise.
The farm Zabalaga date from the Sixteenth century. ©Zabalaga Leku. San Sebastián, VEGAP, 2019. Estate of Eduardo Chillida and Hauser & Wirth. Photo Courtesy Mikel Chillida Mikel Chillida
Eduardo Chillida Juantegui (Eduardo Txillida Juantegi in basque) was born in 1924 to less than 10 miles from here, in San Sebastián. But it is in Hernani, in a property of the Sixteenth century, it is returned in 1955 after his marriage in 1950 with Pilar Belzunce and a long stay in France. Before settling permanently in San Sebastián in 1959, where he died in 2002 at age 78. It was created in 1977 The Comb of the Wind , a collection of sculptures built on an architectural work of Luis Peña Ganchegui, at one end of the beach Ondarreta, at the foot of mount Igueldo, which is visible from the entire bay of la Concha. The photos taken during her many summers at the Maeght Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, show Chillida, is installed as patriarch filled with his wife and eight children, Guiomar, Pedro, Ignacio, Carmen, Susana, Maria, Luis and Eduardo.
Spring, who sings Fire Eduardo Chillida in “Buscando la luz I” (“Weathered Steel”, 1997) during the first phase of oxidation of the work ©Zabalaga Leku. San Sebastián, VEGAP, 2019. Estate of Eduardo Chillida and Hauser & Wirth. Sutton PR
on The 17th of April, this wonderful place will reopen to the public who will be able to discover a universe intact, the fortified farm of the Sixteenth, the Caserio Zabalaga and acquired in 1984 by the sculptor, and his huge metal placed all around in the countryside.
For fifteen years, Chillida and his wife have restored patiently, gently, the place with the help of the basque architect, Joaquín Montero. Chillida Leku “(the “place Chillida” in basque) was intended as an experiment in open art, offered a look to the public.
long negotiations with the basque government and the provincial council of Gipuzkoa were to assign the property of 11 hectares with its collection of 93 sculptures, 700 works of art on paper as well as the archives of the artist, for 112 million euro (the total was estimated at 176 million euros, Sotheby’s). In July 2016, the county council has abandoned the project.
today, Chillida Leku account some forty works, including monumental sculptures, such as Buscando la luz I , 1997, Lotura XXXII ( Union XXXII ), 1998, both made of Corten steel, the material dear to Richard Serra who is aging so well.
Coffee eco-friendly but tasty
To mark the re-opening, heaven-sent opportunity, made possible by the support of the international gallery Hauser & Wirth (who is defending the Estate Chillida), an inaugural exhibition, Eduardo Chillida, Echoes , will trace the artist’s career, from the 1940s until 2000. His son Ignacio will be the commissioner, assisted by a team of researchers of the foundation. Iron, Corten steel, granite, plaster and paper are the materials recurring of the sculptor. We will see its series the most famous, Gravitaciones that play with negative space in the sculptures in paper, or Lurras , works in earth chamottée like those, beautiful, shown in 2011 at the Fondation Maeght.
In the building itself, will be mentioned his monumental works, which are encamped in public space, in 40 different towns and cities in the world. In addition to the treasures of the Estate Chillida, museums and private collections that will lend their parts: the Fundación La Caixa, will lend his iron sculpture, Deseoso (1954); the Museo Reina Sofia will Del plano oscuro (1956), made in a filing in Madrid by the Fundación ICO. Archives, photos and various documents bring to life the journey of this master basque of abstraction that Spain has not always loved.
Because the surrounding area is a little laughing, a new Coffee eco-friendly but tasty (it is in the basque Country if gourmet!), Lurra, y will be led by the chief, Fede Pacha. A Museum Shop revamped and enriched will be the day. The renovations will be placed under the supervision of the architect of argentina’s Paris, Luis Laplace, who worked closely with the grandson of the artist, the architect, Jon Essery Chillida. Finally, the artist of gardens and iconic figure of the New Perennial, the Dutch Piet Oudolf, will bring his contemporary touch. A spring that sings, so.
Group visiting Chillida Leku in the shadow of “Buscando la luz I” (“Weathered Steel”, 1997). ©Zabalaga Leku. San Sebastián, VEGAP, 2019. Estate of Eduardo Chillida and Hauser & Wirth. Photo Courtesy Mike Mikel Chillida
Tickets available in April on the site, www.museochillidaleku.com
Information about the artist on the website of the gallery Hauser & Wirth represents the Estate, Chillida: www.hauserwirth.com/artists/2864-eduardo-chillida