Eduardo Chillida (1924–2002) had his first exhibition in Paris in 1950. Since then, retrospective exhibitions have been held in Houston, Berlin, Madrid, Caracas, London, and Palermo, as well as at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Currently, his work has entered the collections of over thirty museums around the world. His sculptures have been installed facing the sea in San Sebastian, on a mountain in Japan, and in Washington, Paris, Munster, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Guernica, and Berlin. During the course of his life, Chillida received numerous art awards, including the Prize of the Venice Biennale.
He titled many of his works homenajes—homages or tributes, and dedicated them to different artists with whom he had some connection; for example, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Twombly, and Joan Miró. Chillida also dedicated works to a long list of writers, philosophers and friends as a sign of his affection, respect, and admiration. In all, these homages constitute more than eighty sculptures, 58 prints, and two drawings. The first explicit tribute is to Vivaldi, in his Homage to Vivaldi I from 1951.
Two of his drawings are dedicated to his favorite poet, Saint John of the Cross, and in their way, represent graphic transcriptions of certain verses by the Spanish mystic. Many of these "dedicated" works refer to friends (Rafael Elósegui, Manolo Millares, Rafa Balerdi, Annely Juda, and Cristobal Balenciaga) or family members (his wife Pilar, his infant daughter María), but most are tributes to writers, musicians, and artists whose talent captivated Chillida. These homages may also be considered ventures in interpreting other artists' sculpture or painting.
Basque sculptor's death in 2002 revealed the immense appreciation and respect artists his own age and younger have for him. This led to the possibility that fellow artists who felt an affinity and gratitude towards both Chillida and his work paid tribute to the sculptor.
Forty-five artists contributed their remembrance. Their works are characteristic of each artist's personal aesthetic language, sometimes playing with direct references to the Basque sculptor's work. This exhibition is an example of that affinity towards and visual memory of Eduardo Chillida and his work. Within the framework of this exhibition, different living artists pay homage through their work to Chillida, just as the Basque sculptor had done himself.
Kosme de Barañano