Eduardo Chillida

April 30 - July 27, 2018

New York, 69th Street

The bird is one of the signs of space, each one of Chillida’s sculptures represents, much like the bird, a sign of space; each one of them says a different thing: the iron says wind, the wood says song, the alabaster says light yet they all say the same thing: space. A rumor of limits, a coarse song; the wind, an ancient name of the spirit, blows and spins tirelessly in the house of space. – Octavio Paz Hauser & Wirth is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition of works by Eduardo Chillida (1924 – 2002), Spain’s foremost sculptor of the twentieth century. Widely recognized for monumental iron and steel public sculptures displayed across the globe, Chillida is also celebrated for a wholly distinctive use of materials such as stone, chamotte clay, and paper to engage concerns both earthly and metaphysical. On view from 30 April through 27 July 2018, this exhibition showcases the artist’s varied and innovative practice through a focused presentation of rarely displayed works, including small-scale sculptures, collages, drawings, and artist books that shed new light on Chillida’s enduring fascination with space and organic form. Originally a student of architecture in Madrid, Chillida created art guided by its principles; his early interest in the field had a lasting impact on his development as an artist, shaping his understanding of spatial relationships and sparking what would become a deep-rooted interest in making space visible through a consideration of the forms surrounding it. Chillida often drew on his Spanish heritage, as well as influences from European and Eastern philosophies, poetry, and history, to develop an artistic voice that resonated with a continent undergoing rapid transformation. In the 1950s, Chillida began experimenting with materials connected to the industrial heritage of his native Basque region, where he established a foundry in the town of Hernani. Learning techniques from a local blacksmith, Chillida coaxed iron and steel into layers of linear, angular, and geometric structures to explore notions of time and to demonstrate how shapes develop through their interactions with space. Chillida’s formally rigorous constructions from this period – such as ‘Relieve (Relief)’ (1957) and ‘Sueño Articulado, Homenaje a Gaston Bachelard (Articulated Dream, Homage to Gaston Bachelard)’ (1958) – are imbued with tension and poise. At once conceptual and architectural, these works were the foundations for Chillida’s later investigations into the intersections of geometric and organic forms, including his L-shaped, steel sculpture ‘Begirari III’ (1994). During his experimentations with steel and iron, Chillida also began to make engravings and collages – a core practice that would continue throughout his career. He further developed this technique from the late 1980s into the early 2000s, creating ‘Aromas,’ an artist book comprising woodcuts, etchings, and screenprints, as well texts from Chillida and the close circle of poets, philosophers, and intellectuals that deeply influenced his work. For his Gravitaciones (Gravitations) series, Chillida layered cut paper to create the effects of tension, weight, matter, and light. He stitched these works together with thread and suspended them, illuminating a delicate contrast between negative and positive space. Chillida’s contour drawings that compose his series Dibujos de Manos indicate a careful examination of the human body’s lines and shapes, a crucial referent for his larger sculptural structures. Some of his most iconic series of sculptures, including Rumor de Límites (Rumor of Limits) and Ikaraundi (Great Trembling), have their origins in such works on paper and emerged from the gestural, minimal, abstract drawings that Chillida produced. Even Chillida’s most solid works maintain an acute sensitivity to lightness and space. ‘Homenaje a Pili (Homage to Pili)’ (2000) is a prime example of this paradoxical relationship that often characterizes his work. Made from alabaster, a material Chillida embraced after travelling extensively through Greece, Umbria, Tuscany, Rome, and Provence in the early 1960s, the work appears incandescent as a result of the stone’s translucent properties. Similarly, in ‘Lurra – Oxido G-251’ (1992), which is coated with a patina that allows the effect of rusted metal, and ‘Lurra G-38’ (1984), the unique materiality of the sculpture manifests as an inherent part of the work’s conception and form. The exhibition concludes with a selection of Chillida’s homages, created throughout his career in tribute to various figures who he respected and admired. These often fell into three broad groups: works dedicated to artists, including Constantin Brâncuși, Alexander Calder, Katsushika Hokusai and Joan Miró; musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi; and philosophers or poets such as Gaston Bachelard, Martin Heidegger, Emil Cioran, and Pablo Neruda.

Installation views


In Concert: Keiran Campbell

'I felt as if I were entering inside Johann Sebastian Bach’s lungs Rhythm / Time / Silence / Measure / Chord / Interval / Rest Some years ago an electrician came to my studio. He was a man just like many others, but as opposed to other people that always have something to ask, he asked nothing. As he was about to leave he turned around and said 'I understand, your work is like music, but in iron.' We welcome you to a concert on the occasion of the exhibition, 'Eduardo Chillida.' Cellist Keiran Campbell will perform a selection of Bach following a small reception. About Keiran Campbell Keiran Campbell is a New York City-based performer and teacher specializing in modern and baroque cello playing. Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, he began studying the cello at age 8. Keiran received both his BM and MM from Juilliard, studying with Darrett Adkins during his undergraduate, and Phoebe Carrai (baroque cello) and Timothy Eddy during his masters. Keiran has appeared as a soloist with the North State Chamber Orchestra, the Mallarme Chamber Orchestra, the Durham Symphony, and Juilliard415. As a chamber musician, Keiran has performed and collaborated with members of the Cleveland and Juilliard quartets. He was recently appointed Executive Director of Aeon Music Ensemble, and also plays with baroque chamber groups around the city, including Voyage Sonique, an ensemble made up of recent Juilliard graduates. Keiran has attended The Berwick Academy, Perlman Chamber Workshop, Sarasota Music Festival, and Kneisel Hall. Keiran has worked closely with Steven Isserlis and Ralph Kirshbaum in masterclasses at IMS Prussia Cove, and also worked with David Geringas at the Accademia Chigiana. He has recently appeared with groups including Tafelmusik, Mercury Baroque, and Trinity Wall Street. This season, he will appear with the Mercury Orchestra in Houston and English Concert in America as their 2017-2018 fellow, as well as with Tafelmusik and Philharmonia Baroque. Keiran currently plays on the ‘Amaryllis Fleming’ Amati cello c1600, which is on a generous loan from Florian Leonhard Violins. Image: Installation view, 'Eduardo Chillida,' Hauser & Wirth New York, 69th Street, 2018. Photo: EPW Studio

Poets Speak: Ricardo Alberto Maldonado and Elizabeth Zuba on ‘Eduardo Chillida’

Please join us for a poetry reading and conversation with poets Ricardo Alberto Maldonado and Elizabeth Zuba on the occasion of the ongoing exhibition ‘Eduardo Chillida’ at Hauser & Wirth 69th Street. Co-presented with the Poetry Society of America, the reading will center on the poets and his close friends, José Ángel Valente and Jorge Guillén, who had a profound impact on Chillida’s practice and who proved to be enduring sources of inspiration for the artist. Ricardo Alberto Maldonado was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He is the translator of Dinapiera Di Donato’s Collateral (National Poetry Series/Akashic Books) and the recipient of poetry fellowships from Queer/Arts/Mentorship and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Elizabeth Zuba is a poet and translator of poetry and artists’ writings from the French and Spanish. She is the author of two books of poetry (Song Cave 2015 and SplitLevel Texts 2016), a monograph on American artist Ray Johnson Not Nothing (Siglio Press, 2014), and the translator of over ten books of poetry and writings, including several by Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers and texts by Duchamp, Picabia, Satie, and other contributors to Dada magazine The Blind Man (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018). Elizabeth won the French Voices award in 2017 for her translation of Anouck Durand’s Eternal Friendship (Siglio Press). Her most recent translation is the late Argentine poet Arnaldo Calveyra’s first book of poetry Letters So That Happiness (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018).

About the artist

With a varied and pioneering practice that spans small-scale sculpture, plaster work, drawing, engraving and collage, Spanish artist Eduardo Chillida is best known for his prominent monumental public sculptures, mostly displayed in Spain, Germany, France and the USA. Throughout his career, Chillida drew on his Spanish heritage combined with a fascination for organic form, as well as influences from European and Eastern philosophies, poetry and history, to develop an artistic voice that communicated and resonated with a continent undergoing rapid transformation.Originally a student of architecture, Chillida created art guided by its principles. His formally rigorous constructions in oxidised iron are imbued with tension and poise. Chillida’s contribution towards Spain’s postwar artistic reputation and his personal legacy endure through his work and also through the Foundation which he set up in 2000. In the same year, Chillida opened Chillida Leku, an exhibition space and sculpture park converted from the historic Zabalaga farmhouse in the town of Hernani, near San Sebastian.

Current Exhibitions