Exhibition: Eduardo Chillida, Reflections / Anthony Caro, Open Secret - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum


2021-11-24 • 2022-01-30

Eduardo Chillida, Reflections / Anthony Caro, Open Secret

A dialogue

Room 32

From 24 November, 2021 to January 30, 2022 the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum in Spain will host the artist's books Open Secret and Reflections.

Open Secret by British sculptor Anthony Caro (1924-2013) and Reflections by Basque artist Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) are artist's books published by Ivorypress. Both artists explore the sculptural quality of the book and both artists chose to use the written word to be part of their edition. This exhibition establishes a dialogue between the works of both artists, as part of a multi-institutional exhibitions program that takes place in Museums, Libraries and Universities across Europe and the United States during 2021-2022 on the occasion of Ivorypress' twenty-fifth anniversary.

The other articipating institutions include the Biblioteca Nacional de Espa in Madrid, the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, the British Library in London, the Centro de Iniciativas Culturales at the Universidad de Sevilla, Ivorypress Space in Madrid, Kettle's Yard at the University of Cambridge, Museo Chillida Leku in Hernani, Museo Lázaro Galdiano in Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Neues Museum in Berlin, Stanford University Library in California, the Warburg Institute in London, and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven.

Reflections (2002)was the first artist's book published by Ivorypress and was created by Eduardo Chillida. The sculptural box contains three volumes: Part I comprises eleven facsimiles of works on paper each of them chosen by Eduardo Chillida to represent a span of his work between 1950 and 2000. Part II is a facsimile of one of Chillida's unpublished notebooks, hand-finished through an elaborate process of cutting and folding. Part III situates the graphic works via a series of photographs by Italian Magnum photographer Ferdinando Scianna and texts by the British art historian John Berger and Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.

Eduardo Chillida Juntegui (1924-2002) was born in San Sebastián, city in which he lived for the best part of his life and where he built his own museum, Chillida-Leku. Perhaps the most widely known contemporary Spanish sculptor, throughout his career he received numerous awards among which are especially significant the Grand Prix des Arts et Lettres de Paris (1984), the Wolf Prize (1985), the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes (1987) or the honorific golden medal of the city of Vitoria (posthumous, 2002). Chillida took part in some of the most relevant international art exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale (1958, 1988, 1990), the Carniage International (1964 y 1978) or dokumenta (editions II, IV y VI); on top of which he showed his works in over a hundred solo exhibitions housed by renowned institutions such as the National Art Gallery of Wasington (1979), the Guggenheim Museum of New York, The Museo de Arte Reina Sofía of Madrid or the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao.

The artist's book Open Secret was created by Anthony Caro in four materials: stainless steel, grey cardboard, bronze and brass. In Open Secret, the sculpture opens and invites the reader to enter a world of poetry, in a structure not unlike a book, with a binding at one end and text inside. Each sculpture, designed by the artist, contains a portfolio of poems handwritten by German poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger in English and in German and a handwritten passage by Anthony Caro from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. The pages of the portfolio were printed on handmade paper from Japan. Each sculpture's portfolio was printed in a different colour of ink (silver, light brown, dark brown and black respectively). Each sculpture is wrapped in black silk that has been printed via silkscreen by Nicola Killeen for Open Secret.

Anthony Caro (New Malden, UK, 1924 ? London, UK 2013) was born in New Malden, a suburb in south-west London, to a Sephardic Jewish family. His abstract work is the result of assembling large industrial pieces made of metal, often painted with bright colours. Among the numerous awards he received are the Praemium Imperale of Sculpture of Tokyo (1992) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture (1997). Caro was also knighted in 1987, and awarded the Order of Merit in 2000.His first solo exhibition took place in 1956, and ever since then his pieces have been part of a large number of both group and solo shows all around the world. Particularly remarkable are his participation in the Venice Biennale of 1999, the retrospective exhibitions that were housed by the MoMA of New York (1975) and the Tate Britain (2005) and his exhibit "Caro ? Sculpture From Painting'" (1998), with which he became the first contemporary sculptor to show his art at the National Gallery of London.

Lecture given by Elena Ochoa Foster as part of the course "Glocal. Caring for art today, here and now" (2019/07/01)