Skip to content
info This content is also available in spanish. Read the article in Spanish.

UC Chile Hosts Exhibition to Join in the 100th Birthday Celebration of Eduardo Chillida

The UC-Alameda Extension Center Art Gallery has now joined the global festivities honoring the iconic Basque sculptor with the unveiling of «Eduardo Chillida: el espacio de las cosas»(Eduardo Chillida: the space of things). The exhibition showcases, among other artwork, original models by the artist, who is often referred to as the “constructor of silence.”

Luis Chillida with two women looking at one of his fathers artworks.

photo_camera Luis Chillida, the son of the Basque sculptor and President of the Eduardo Chillida-Pilar Belzunce Foundation, took part in the inauguration at the UC Chile Central Campus. The exhibition is open to the public, free of charge, from Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 6 pm, and from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.

An exhibition, entitled «Eduardo Chillida: el espacio de las cosas» (Eduardo Chillida: the space of things), has opened at the UC-Alameda Extension Center Art Gallery, located at the UC Chile Central Campus right in downtown Santiago, to commemorate the 100th birthday of sculptor Eduardo Chillida, considered one of the most important sculptors of the twentieth century and whose legacy includes more than 45 public installations across the globe. 

“January 10th marked the celebration of the 100th anniversary since the birth of this remarkable artist, whose pieces are displayed in major museums worldwide. UC Chile is honored to host this exhibition, contributing to the centennial festivities and introducing Chillida's creations to new generations worldwide," said University President Ignacio Sánchez.

UC Chile President Ignacio Sánchez with other 3 authorities and Luis Chillida, son of the sculptor.
From left to right: Raimon Ramis, curator of the exhibition; Rosa María Lazo, Vice President of UC Communications and Cultural Outreach; UC Chile President Ignacio Sánchez; Daniela Rosenfeld, Director of UC Cultural Outreach, and Luis Chillida, son of the sculptor. 

Chile is the only country in Latin America participating in the official agenda of this commemoration, which is also being celebrated with similar exhibitions in Spain and the United States, under the name "Convergence". Raimon Ramis, the curator of the exhibition, and Luis Chillida, Eduardo's son and president of the Eduardo Chillida - Pilar Belzunce Foundation, were present at the opening. 

“It's rewarding to witness the gallery's display and to see how my father’s work is resonating with a broader audience. He departed from the conventional sculptural style and consistently sought to explore new frontiers. When presented with the idea of producing several replicas of his works for sale, he proposed an alternative solution: why not create one large piece with multiple owners instead? If a work belongs to no one, then it belongs to everyone. That's why he installed his works in public spaces, because, at that time, the sculptures in town squares were usually of war generals or authorities, not pieces of art," explained Luis Chillida. 

One hundred years after the birth of the renowned Basque sculptor, his artwork can be found in Germany, France, and even Iran, where he crafted a sculpture paying homage to the worldwide known Chilean poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, Pablo Neruda. With his emblematic works of large-scale visual art, Chillida positioned himself as a revolutionary who challenged the boundaries of space. He installed sculptures that seem to defy gravity and time, such as "Elogio del Agua"  in Barcelona and "el Peine del viento XV," which has withstood the force of the waves on the San Sebastian coast, his hometown, since 1976. 

Presently, the UC-Alameda Extension Center Art Gallery houses the original models of several of these remarkable sculptural pieces. Also on display are a series of drawings of hands and Chillida's "Gravitations," renowned internationally for his ability to create pictorial reliefs by overlaying and interweaving paper. 

Two people looking at one of Eduardo Chillida's works.
Original models of Chillida's public works are on display at the UC Chile. 

Iron Forging, Trials and Errors 

In the rugged landscape of Spain's northern coast, characterized by steep hills, cliffs, and a chilly sea compared to the Mediterranean, lies a region abundant in mineral-rich mountains and dense forests, steeped in the tradition of iron and wood forging. Here, amidst landscapes where light punctuates the horizon amidst rain showers and darker hues, the swift-changing shapes of monumental clouds left an indelible mark on Eduardo Chillida's artistic vision. 

“In an ideal scenario, we hail from one place, with our roots firmly planted, yet our arms extending globally, embracing the validity of ideas from any culture," wrote Eduardo Chillida in the biographical book "Hablando con Chillida", published in 1975. 

Constantly contemplating the democratization of art and the recontextualization of materials indigenous to his homeland, such as iron and wood, the Basque artist maintained friendships with other influential figures of his time like Joan Miró and intellectuals like Heidegger. 

"Chillida's dedication to perfection permeates his work; hence, he refused to settle for his existing skills and instead embraced discomfort by confronting new formal, technical, and conceptual challenges," explained Raimon Ramis, curator of the exhibition. He highlighted Chillida's deliberate choice to begin drawing with his left hand, ensuring that the technique did not overshadow artistic vision. 

In the exhibition "El espacio de las cosas"(The space of things), running until May 31st, visitors can explore over a dozen drawings of hands, a motif that Chillida repeatedly sketched throughout his lifetime. These drawings showcase his continual pursuit of new challenges and evolving perspectives through his use of line. 

"In a contemporary era that often pressures us to prioritize success over authenticity, Chillida's aesthetics and politics of failure compel us to confront a more challenging reality. Here, we witness Chillida in his experimental phase, navigating trials and errors, as he suggested,” said Elixabete Ansa, Director of the UC Institute of Aesthetics during the panel after the screening of the documentary "Chillida: el arte y los sueños"(Chillida: the arts and dreams), which was exhibited at the UC Chile Cinema on the Central Campus. She described it as an urge for openness, revealing a more personal side of Chillida and offering insight into one of the most remarkable sculptors of the last century. 

  • The documentary "Chillida: el arte y los sueños"(Chillida: arts and dreams), created by his daughter Susana Chillida, will have additional admission-free screenings on April 19th and May 9th, both at 5:30 p.m., at the UC Chile Cinema in the UC-Alameda Extension Center.
  • The exhibition "Chillida: el espacio de las cosas"(Chillida: the space of things) will be on display until May 31.The UC Art Gallery at the UC-Alameda Extension Center is open to visitors at no charge, Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm (with a short closure between 2 pm and 3 pm) and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. The entrance is through Alameda #390.

Did You Like this Post?
Share this Post