The reopening of a big one

The reopening of a big one

The Chillida-Leku Museum reopens its doors on April 17th, after being closed 10 years ago. The event will be joined by an exhibition: Ecos, which will include part of the sculptor’s personal archive and 40 pieces gathered on the estate’s exterior, accompanied by an intervention of landscaper Piet Oudolf. 

Management will be commanded by Mireia Massagué. The reopening was born thanks to the alliance between the Hauser & Wirth Gallery (both representatives of the work since 2017) and the Chillida family, which will continue to own the place.

Chillida-Leku is located six kilometers from San Sebastián, Spain, in the Zabalaga estate and was created from a dream the artist had after acquiring the property by his wife’s hand.

One day I found an utopia in a dream: to find a place where my sculptures could rest and people could walk among them, like in the forest

The museum is effortlessly made in a fusion between art and nature and the sculpture installation does not follow a specific order, being formed like a big format artwork. The sculptor did not want to rebuild the homestead (dating from the 16th century), his purpose was to fill it with a contemporary structure, and in that way, mark today and yesterday. After rebuilding the estate, while keeping its style, it opened its doors in year 2000 and 10 years later had to close due to the economic crisis.

Life and work

Eduardo Chillida is a San Sebastián-born artist, his career is the example of the saying “if it shall be, it will be”, since in his early years he was goalkeeper for the Real Sociedad team, path he had to leave after an injure. At 19, he started studying Architecture to later drop out of the university and dedicate himself to sculpture and drawing as his solely profession at the Fine Art Circle in Madrid.

His career in the art world began when he moved to Paris and met Pablo Palazuelo in 1948. He was recognized with several prizes throughout his career, like the International Sculpture Award during the Venice Biennale in 1958, the Kandinsky Prize in 1960, the Golden Medal for Merit in Fine Arts in Madrid in 1981, and the Imperial Prize in Japan in 1991. In addition to all these awards, he was also appointed Honorary Member of the San Fernando de Madrid Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1994 and Member of the Paris Fine Art Academy in 2001.

The museum was a project he began in 1984, when he bought the Zabalaga property, whose garden features an 11-hectare extension. The monumental sculptures are arranged in such a way that they maintain a dialog between them and with the nature that surrounds them. These can be touched to feel the different textures and even experienced from the inside, thanks to some of them having space in their interior.

This year, Chillida’s dream reopens its doors and is back to praise Basque contemporary art.

Photos: Chillida-Leku