We take great pleasure in presenting the first major retrospective in Japan of Eduardo Chillida, the Spanish master of twentieth-century sculpture.
Chillida was born in San Sebastian on the Bay of Biscay in the Basque provinces of Spain in 1924. Before his death at age 78 in 2002, he continued to work with passion and devotion to create a large body of dynamic and powerful abstract sculpture in steel, stone, and terra cotta.
After studying architecture at the University of Madrid, he switched to sculpture at age 23. He first studied in Paris and then, in 1951, began making abstract sculpture in steel using traditional Spanish forging techniques.
Chillida is particularly known for his large outdoor sculpture. His major work, Peine del Viento (Wind Combs), was completed in 1977 after 25 years in the making and installed on the beach near his home town. This sculpture stands proudly as an expression of the artist’s patient and uncompromising spirit, both resisting and harmonizing with the nature, the broad expanses of sky and sea around it. All of Chillida’s works bring out the unique qualities of their materials, whether steel, terra cotta, marble, or paper, to the maximum extent possible. His entire oeuvre is based on profound philosophical ideas and a reverent attitude toward nature.
Chillida is known internationally for his outdoor sculpture and participation in exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. Many people have benn waiting to see his work in Japan for a long time, but the opportunity has been postponed until now because of the size and weight of his sculpture. The present exhibition has been made possible by the unstinting cooperation of the Museo Chillida-Leku, located near the sculptor’s hometown of San Sebastian. It gives a comprehensive view of the work of this marvelous artist, presenting works on paper, including drawings, prints, and the Gravitacion series, which might be described as paper relief sculptures, along with the steel and terra cotta sculptures.
It is our hope that through this exhibition the general public and all lovers of art will come to understand the essence of Chillida’s art and, as a result, gain a new awareness and perspective on contemporary sculpture.
We would like to express our appreciation to Professor Kosme de Baranano for his valuable services in bringing this exhibition to Japan. Chillida had a strong desire for an exhibition here and personally asked Professor de Baranano to act as commissioner of such an exhibition while he was still alive. We are very grateful to the Chillida family and the Museo Chillida-Leku for their generous agreement to loan many of the valuable works of art in their possession to the exhibition, the Spanish Embassy for its endorsement of the exhibition, and Japan Airlines for its special cooperation. Thanks are also due to the other museums and collectors who have loaned works of art and all the institutions and individuals who have helped to make this exhibition possible.