Sculpture Journal

Not unlike scale models: Eduardo Chillida and architecture

Sculpture Journal (2018), 27, (3), 297–307.


Throughout his oeuvre, the artist Eduardo Chillida paid homage to architecture. He made works that give form to tasks and functions traditionally associated with architecture, such as creating a meeting place, a square, a refuge, a gate and, above all, a house. Chillida, who studied architecture prior to becoming an artist, embraced the possibilities and modalities offered by the medium, discipline and practice. He related to architecture in a ‘heterodox’ fashion. His dissident position rested in his refusal to adhere to the doxa of either art or architecture. Starting from Chillida’s statement that he considered himself ‘an architect of emptiness’, this article focuses on two notions that were key concerns for the artist: space and emptiness. Via a reading of Martin Heidegger’s essay Art and Space (Die Kunst und der Raum, 1969) and Georges Perec’s book Species of Spaces (Espèces d’espaces, 1974) and the respective notions of space and emptiness that both of these advance, the article contends that Chillida’s sculptures deliver – not unlike scale models – an image of architecture’s capacity to carve out of the dense material fabric of the world a space that might accommodate the very human attempt to provide shelter.

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Author details

Davidts, Wouter