Spanish Sculptor’s Monumental Works Are Getting a Close Dallas Exam: It’s Chillida Mania at The MeadowsBY Lisa Collins Shaddock // 03.04.18
Eduardo Chillida in 1963
Besarkada III / Embrace III, 1991. Iron.
Gravitacion. Elogio del agua / Gravitation. In Praise of Water, 1987. Ink on paper and thread.
Chillida's Mano / Hand,1995. Ink on paper.
Chillida in Barcelona in 1987
When commissioned to design the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown Dallas, architect I.M. Pei had one request: that Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida create an art piece for the site.
The resulting work, De música, Dallas XV (On Music, Dallas XV), has stood sentinel outside the Meyerson’s massive glass-and-granite facade since its opening in 1989 and remains one of the artist’s most important public works.
Almost 30 years later, the famed sculpture’s home city welcomes its first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the late artist’s work, at the Meadows Museum. “Memory, Mind, Matter: The Sculpture of Eduardo Chillida” explores 66 works, from the monumental iron and stone sculptures for which he is best known to drawings, collages, books, and gravitations (his uniquely dimensional works fabricated from paper and suspended by string).
Born in the Basque region of Spain, Chillida often explored his connection to his country in his work by evoking human hands, which he saw as instruments for interacting with the earth, through a variety of media.
“My father was a man who loved to work with different materials,” says Luis Chillida, the artist’s son and director of the Fundación Eduardo Chillida-Pilar Belzunce, who had the opportunity to see De música for the first time while in Dallas for last month’s exhibition opening.
“But no matter the material, he always worked in the present. For him, the present was a moment in which the past and the future touch. It’s a moment without dimension, but a moment where everything happens.”
The exhibit is co-curated by William Jeffet, chief curator of exhibitions for The Dalí Museum in Florida, and Ignacio Chillida, Luis’ brother and a master printer, who often collaborated with their father. Included are works from the Museo Chillida-Leku in Hernani (San Sebastián, Spain), the 16th-century farmhouse Chillida restored that now serves as a private museum for his work under Ignacio’s direction.
A concurrent exhibit at the Meadows, “Chillida in Dallas: De música at the Meyerson,” showcases the evolution of Dallas’ landmark commission through photographs, sketches, and correspondence.
Curated by Meadows/Mellon/Prado Curatorial Fellow Amanda Dotseth, the collection exposes Chillida’s creative process as his vision for De música took shape, taking multiple forms and changing directions in an intricate collaborative dance with I.M. Pei.
Just outside the home of the Dallas Symphony, the elegant arm-like extensions of De música‘s two 15-foot steel cylinders appear to reach out for one another, engaging in another artistic pas de deux.
“Memory, Mind, Matter: The Sculpture of Eduardo Chillida” will be displayed at the Meadows Museum through June 3, 2018.