AUSTIN, Texas – The Meadows Museum in Dallas is currently presenting the first connections of sculptor Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) with the avant-garde of the first half of the 20th century, in a retrospective that reviews the Spanish artist’s unmatched manipulation of space and form.
A total of 66 pieces will be on show until June 3, all on loan from the Chillida-Leku Museum in Hernani in the southern Basque country of Spain, and which make up a complete history of his career that allows visitors to review Chillida’s interest in human subjectivity and his poetic notions of form expressed in different materials.
“My father was very doubtful of experience, he preferred experiments; he liked to manipulate a material with the possibility of changing its position and then varying its scale,” said one of the artist’s sons, Luis Chillida, in an interview with EFE about the Dallas exhibition.
Luis explained that his father never defined himself as an abstract artist, but tried to represent concepts “without form,” such as an anvil of dreams or the sound of limits, in other words, “he used materials to give form to words.”
The exhibit entitled “Memory, Mind, Matter: The Sculpture of Eduardo Chillida” starts off on the ground floor of the museum with a selection of photos and documentary material dedicated to Chillida’s monumental work in front of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
The piece is an imposing cylinder of steel measuring 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall and 1 meter in diameter, which he created for the inauguration of the auditorium while remaining in constant contact with the building’s architect, Ieoh Ming Pei.
For that reason, the director of the Meadows Museum described the current exhibit to EFE as a chance to bring the artist back to Dallas and reconnect him with Americans so they “can get to know his wealth of talent” beyond his monumental public sculptures.
To be seen on the upper floor of the exhibition are drawings, etchings, collages, numerous examples of the paper sculptures he called “gravitations,” and murals made of cement that offer some understanding the artist’s creative process.
The exhibition also allows the public to see Chillida’s connection with his roots in the Basque country of northern Spain, by showing the way he represented fingers, arms and hands intertwined as instruments to interact with the land.
The exhibition’s arrival in Dallas after being shown at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, was coordinated by William Jeffett, chief curator at that art center, together with Ignacio Chillida, another of the sculptor’s children.