Chillida Leku

What kind of art space is best in summer? It is the one that has got most of its art outside!
After choosing to travel locally this time, I arrived to San Sebastian in the Basque Country north of Spain. The little town called Hernani is famous for one of the nicest open-air art museums in Europe. It is called the Chillida Leku.

Chillida Leku in the Basque language loosely translates into “Chillida´s Place”. This marvelous place was founded by Eduardo Chillida together with his wife Pilar Belzunce during his lifetime – so we can be quite sure that the sculptures are displayed in the way the artist wanted them to be shown and not only by the interpretation of curators as it usually is in museums. Chillida Leku was initially open in 2000. 

Over 40 large scale sculptures are spread around 13 hectares of the park with additional indoor space for smaller and more delicate work by Eduardo Chillida housed in a 16th-century farmhouse.

Eduardo Chillida was a Spanish Basque sculptor notable for his monumental abstract works in iron, granite, and marble. He was recognized publicly quite early and created numerous commissions in Spain and internationally including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. His colossal and largest sculpture “De Musica” is in Dallas and it weighs 81 tons!

Chillida Leku park was closed for nearly ten years but was reopened in 2019 with the help of the Swiss art gallery Hauser & Wirth who now officially represents Eduardo Chillida.

I spend around two hours enjoying the park after arriving at 10 am when Chillida Leku opens. It was nice to walk around (and sometimes even inside!) the sculptures. I always admired artists who apart from artworks create the atmosphere, so the morning at this park was a real treat for my imagination. I could nearly see Eduardo Chillida walking around and thinking about where to move each sculpture. Or maybe even creating a new one for a particular spot under one of the huge pine trees? 

I really hope to visit again during a different season and see how everything changes when nature does. Meanwhile, I can insist: green is a perfect background for the brown rusty iron. The rest is for you to experience and feel while hearing the birds sing in the beautiful trees surrounding “Chillida´s Place”.

For more information check the official website. Chillida Leku is open from Friday to Monday and they also organize live music concerts in summer.

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