Couple - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Zugasti, José

Eibar, Gipuzkoa, 05/06/1952

Wire, rod and paint

173 x 71.2 x 63 cm


Last quarter of the 20th century


Acquired in 2006

Zugasti builds his sculptures from masses of rods and wire. Space is also a major part of the sculpture, suffusing the bodies and figures portrayed with the breath of life and reality. The barely perceptible touches of colour and the treatment of light, with a spontaneous, constructive chiaroscuro, highlight the plasticity of these works. But the really striking thing is the carefully strived-for expressivity that he transmits to the whole, so much so that on occasions the theatricality of his sculptures comes close the staginess of an art installation.

Behind the volumetric void of the thicket of wires we glimpse the real interior of the figures, their soul, which assume their humanity in gesture and attitude. The twisting instability of many of his creations, as in Couple, is an allusion to the dramatic essence of man. It also evokes the presence of the ephemeral, of the passing of time, in the use of waste materials and rusty finishes, as well as in the dejection and tiredness that so often affect his figures. His entire production of sculptures denotes an uncomfortable sensation of asphyxia and oppression that inevitably recalls Giacometti, and which seeks to transmit a profound existentialist feeling. [Arantxa Pereda]

Selected bibliography

  • Adquisiciones 02/07 [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2007. pp. 116-117, n° cat. 49.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. p. 184.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. p. 184, n° cat. 103.
  • Viar, Javier. Historia del arte vasco : de la Guerra Civil a nuestros días, 1936-2016. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2017. p. 748, il.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 184.