BY NANCY COHEN ISRAEL
Eduardo Chillida, Mural G-334, 1999, refractory concrete, 88.58 x 141.73 in.
Basque Memories L
Meadows Museum offers sweeping view of the work of Eduardo Chillida. uscious alabaster, sensuous iron, earthy clay, and dimensional works on paper are featured in the 66 works currently on view at the Meadows Museum in Memory, Mind, Matter: The Sculpture of Eduardo Chillida. The exhibition, encompassing the full range of Chillida’s media, underscores the enormous creative output of this self-taught, Basque artist. Born in 1924, Chillida arrived in Paris in 1948 where his work earned swift recognition. Through his representation by the Parisian Galerie Maeght he came into contact with other Modernist luminaries such as Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, and Joan Miró. Chillida returned to his native San Sebastián in 1951 where he worked for over a half century before his death in 2002. His work garnered early international attention. In 1958, Chillida was awarded the grand prize for sculpture by the jury of the Venice Biennale. In 1966, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston mounted his first major museum retrospective, followed
over the next two decades by exhibitions at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The current exhibition focuses on his later work. Upon his return to Spain, Chillida sought a new direction. In a region known for its blacksmiths, a neighbor’s foundry attracted Chillida’s attention and gave him a place to learn the necessary skills to work in iron and steel. Drawn to what he referred to as the black light of these workshops, Chillida’s work entered a new realm, antithetical to the Mediterranean light that had previously informed it. It also served as an entry point to a career devoted to experimentation. In the 1960s, Chillida discovered yet another kind of light while working in alabaster. “It is a material that has a nice relationship with light. You never know what you’ll find in the stone,” says Luis Chillida, who worked alongside his father for decades and now serves as the President of the Eduardo Chillida-Pilar Belzunce Foundation