Artist Eduardo Chillida, Spain’s foremost sculptor of the 20th century
Chillida is highly revered as a relentless innovator who challenged the conventions of sculpture through a questioning of form, material and space. Conceived as a celebration of the artist’s mastery of materials, the presentation is the first of its kind in the Zurich gallery and showcases Chillida’s wide-ranging and pioneering practice through a presentation of rarely exhibited works. The selection of significant artworks, which spans over a timeline of 50 years, includes small- and large-scale sculptures in steel, wood, chamotte clay, granite and alabaster, as well as drawings, engravings and his Gravitaciones (Gravitations). With a number of Chillida’s sculptures included in the permanent collections of prominent Swiss institutions, the works in the exhibition contextualise the presence of the artist within the Swiss cultural landscape.
Born in San Sebastián in 1924, Chillida was continually inspired by the natural and industrial environment of the Basque Region, reflected in his diverse choice of materials including steel, iron and wood. Combined with a deep understanding and respect for these media, the artist’s interests in the possibilities of defining space and light through form were principles at the core of his practice. These lasting ideas originated from his time studying architecture in Madrid during the early 1940s, a field which had a long-standing impact on his career. Chillida often drew upon influences from European and Eastern philosophies, poetry, and history, and his experiments with abstract forms encompass both physical and metaphysical concerns.
Rita Ackermann ‘Brother and Sister’
An exhibition of new works by the Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann
Throughout her practice, Ackermann has continuously challenged means of representation and abstraction in contemporary painting. Ackermann’s often ghost-like compositions are achieved through sweeping, determined gestures of drawing, painting and erasing, wherein figures rise to the surface only to dissolve again. The various new series on view in the Zurich gallery persist in their interrogation of how the artist’s consciousness, intentions, and movements manifest at a borderline between the formal aspects of her oeuvre.
As the exhibition title suggests, the new paintings on view draw from personal subject matters. Ackermann’s series of her Brother Paintings depict a boy skiing, whose figure is abstracted through a twilight snowstorm. The abstractions reach new heights in the artist’s recent Papi Palette Paintings, a new series in which enlarged photo reproductions of various dust jackets are utilised as surface. While illuminating the acute influence of books and literature on her practice, Ackermann obscures her various pencil-drawn figures through thick swatches of brightly coloured oil paint. Also exhibited are a continuation of the artist’s signature Chalkboard paintings, which feature figures shifting in and out of sight on the green primed chalk canvas.Drawings are like veins; blood vessels leading to the heart…I do not know if life is forever, but I know I make paintings to live. Therefore, I must deconstruct the contours of the figure…Erased, blurred boundaries, no limits. Automatical drawings of the Dada games gave the line to the blind. The lines of the unconsciousness which lead to the unknown. Over and over re-addressing the line to blindly find the contour. Through the lines there is a flow, fast and slow, always with a different speed. Without mastering humility, it is not possible for me to obtain the vertical mobility needed to illuminate new boundaries in painting. And what I hope for my paintings is that they think themselves into existence.