Intxixu - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Basterretxea, Nestor

Bermeo, Bizkaia, 06/05/1924-Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, 12/07/2014


222.7 x 104 x 31 cm

Monogram: NB, intertwined (bottom left hand side, base)


20th century. Third quarter


Acquired in 1973

Intxixu is one of the pieces from the series. With reminiscences of Cubism and African sculpture, it is very much in the spirit of contemporary sculpture deriving from the primitive, such a broad field of endeavour in 20th century art. While retaining the totemic features, the artist displays an imaginative freedom of design, as he does in the rest of the pieces in the series, and an approach that tends towards the two-dimensional. Intxixu is the name of a demon or wizard who lived in the caves and deserted areas. The sculpture's forms seek to give, in a highly stylized manner, an anthropomorphic image of a creature endowed with magic powers and sacred ornaments, performing some kind of shamanic rite. But, on the other hand, the Basque word intxixu designates ancient objects that still survive for specific uses, like wedges, boxwood punches, pegs, rakes, or the pronged pitchforks for moving grass. This meaning transforms the sculpture, which now also seems to represent a rake with large horns. This inclination towards establishing relations with primitive or traditional culture and civilization is by no means a feature of Basterretxea's work alone. [Javier Viar]

Selected bibliography

  • Bengoechea, Javier de. Catálogo de arte moderno y contemporáneo del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. Bilbao, Banco de Vizcaya, 1980. p. 139. (Con el título Intxisu).
  • Basterretxea : antologica [Cat. exp.]. Madrid, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas Artes y Archivos, 1987.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. p. 129.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 129.
  • Bilboko Museoaren alfabetoa = El alfabeto del Museo de Bilbao = The alphabet of the Bilbao Museum = L'alphabet du Musée de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2018. pp. 237-239, 241-242, 245, n° cat. 131.