xGuggenheim, Bilbao

A weekend away in Donostia and Bilbao for a concert and a trio to The Guggenheim.

A short foray into the Diocesian Museum of Donostia- San Sebastian to escape the rain. Some surprising pieces found here

I like these pieces best. They are not what I expected to see in this church. The metal structure is an interesting interpretation of the Christ figures. The acrylic light pieces are better in person and have a tranquillity to them.

The Guggenheim, Bilbao

This is so exciting. The space is vast, and we have to visit over two days because I can’t absorb it all in one day. Outdoors there are works by Ai Wei Wei , Jeff Koons and Louise Bourgeois. Inside I am immediately drawn to the works of Giorgio Morandi

I have looked at his works in books and the internet over the years, and I am amazed to find myself standing in front of the real things now. I am actually in tears standing in front of one piece.

Still Life, 1951
Giorgio Morandi,”Still Life” painting and objects
A close up of a sign

Description automatically generated

Next we visit Richard Serra’s site-specific piece on the ground floor. It is the weekend and the hall is full of children running around the giant steel structures. They are magnificent however and among the chaos we manage to wander through them and absorb their majesty. I am in awe at how they were constructed and so it is with delight that we sit through the video explanation and the drawings and models that explain everything. I am inspired after this and I am planning how I can make something on a smaller scale. 

On the second day we visit Jenny Holzer’s text-based works and am particularly drawn to her beautiful redacted letters, highlighted with gold. These are large scale and hung in date order as the letters were sent. They highlight known uses of enhanced interrogation in Baghradi Jail and are stunningly moving as the detail reveals the horrors inflicted. We have to take a break to absorb what we have seen.

Next we visit Anselm Kiefer’s works on “Land of the Two Rivers”. These works I have not seen before and I am intrigued by his change in style. Using canvas soaked in the salty water of two rivers the salt crystals have been allowed to grow and develop a landscape of their own. They are magnificent.Then on to a series of seascapes by Gerhard Richter that are again in a style I don’t recognise. I am realising that it is important to keep looking at the artist work in real life in order to appreciate all their different stages of progress and interests. Sitting looking at images is all very well but to see them curated and exhibited gives them a sense of 

proportion that images cannot compete with.

Later we stumble to a museum in the Old Town and find giant heads that are made to take part in a procession. These are amazing and made out of paper mâché. Again, you never know when this might come in useful.

A group of people standing in a room

Description automatically generated

I think the most impactful pieces for me were the Richard Serra steel work. I Iike the scale and the shapes. I felt disorientated while walking around them. The darkness and emerging into the light, the noise generated by the public seem to bounce around and create more disorientation. I think there is something there I can work with in the future.