Sculpture Journal

The Whitehaven commission: context and form in Chillida’s 1990s public sculpture

Sculpture Journal (2018), 27, (3), 333–346.


This article focuses on an unrealized commission for a large public sculpture by Chillida for the town of Whitehaven in Cumbria on Britain’s north-west coast. The article draws from the archives of Visual Arts UK at Northumbria University and analyses the background and detail of this little-known project, planned during the 1990s when Chillida had already produced many significant international commissioned works in the public realm. Addressing Chillida’s production and self-presentation in the 1990s, the article also opens up the wider contexts for this particular project: the resonances of seaside settings for Chillida’s work, the artist’s relationship with and reception in Britain, and the difficulties of transposing cultural identity through public work.

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Author details

Kelly, Julia