Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence

Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence


View of Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence, Ordovas, New York, 2015. Photo: Maris Hutchinson.
December 3, 2015

Through January 7, 2016

488 Madison Avenue
New York 10022
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–6pm

London gallery Ordovas has extended the dates of its United States debut exhibition, Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence, the first dedicated to the artist in New York City in 26 years. A central figure in European post-war sculpture, Eduardo Chillida (1924–2002) produced an extraordinary body of work over a five-decade-long career, establishing himself amongst Spain’s most distinctive and internationally acclaimed artists. Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence opened to the public at Ordovas’ pop-up space on 488 Madison Avenue on October 30 and will now run through January 7. The show will then travel to Ordovas London at 25 Savile Row, where it will be on view from early February.

“It is a great honor to represent the estate of Eduardo Chillida and to inaugurate the Ordovas pop-up space in New York with his work,” says Pilar Ordovas. “This marks our third exhibition devoted to Chillida and the first monographic presentation of his work in New York since the 1980 Guggenheim exhibition. A long overdue survey, it will surely increase awareness of his major innovations in the field of sculpture and serve to introduce his work to a new generation of American audiences, scholars and collectors.” 

Ignacio Chillida, son of the artist, says, “On behalf of the Chillida Estate, we are thrilled to be working with Pilar Ordovas to bring this exhibition of my father’s work to New York City.

Together we have selected a group of works that are iconic and representative of Chillida’s oeuvre, and reflect the intimate and universal themes that characterized his vision. We are grateful to Ordovas for promoting Chillida’s work and presenting it to new audiences and collectors in the Americas and beyond.” 

Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence delves into Chillida’s longtime exploration of space as material, as well as his philosophical investigations into the relationships between sculpture, architecture, nature and site. Organized in collaboration with the artist’s estate and featuring rarely seen works from San Sebastián, Spain, Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence showcases a focused selection of eight monumental works in corten steel, granite and alabaster—among them, a large-scale sculpture entitled Arco de la libertad, executed in 1993, and an iconic Peine del viento from 1999. Peine del viento XIX derives from the famous “Wind Comb” series, one of Chillida’s most recognizable outdoor works: a series of giant steel forceps that extend from the cliffs of San Sebastián, emblemizing man’s connection with nature. 

A departure from corten steel and an exploration of light are exemplified in two smaller stone sculptures: a carved granite work, Lo profundo es el aire XVIII (1998) and an alabaster Arquitectura heterodoxa IV (2000). The title Lo profundo es el aire (Deep as the Air) was inspired by a phrase from Spanish poet Jorge Guillén, with whom Chillida would form a lifelong friendship after meeting in 1971 during a visiting professorship at Harvard University. Chillida’s project to make a sculpture inside the mountain of Tindaya on Fuerteventura was inextricably linked to these alabaster works. 

Trained in architecture, Chillida turned his attention to drawing before settling on sculpture and quickly began experimenting with the art form, creating works out of iron, steel, wood, alabaster, cement and paper during his formative years. Chillida is however best known for his monumental works in corten steel, a medium deeply rooted in the blacksmithing traditions of his native Basque Country, a region already known in Roman times for its iron mines and forges. A pioneer in the use of industrial fabrication and large-scale, site-specific works, Chillida investigated sculpture and its relationship to nature and time, questioning the boundary between matter and space, and anticipating some of the explorations of artists like Richard Serra and Robert Smithson. Renovations of the sleek 10,000-square-foot Ordovas space at 488 Madison are by architects Thomas Croft and David Hotson.

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December 3, 2015

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