HERNANI.- The Chillida-Leku Museum
has requested a temporary labor force adjustment plan and has agreed to close the museum starting on January 1, 2011. This decision is attributed to the recurring deficit that, along with practically all art museums, the museum has had to endure due to the general economic crisis which has risen to a level unsustainable for the private institution.
Since their opening in 2000, and after seventeen years of planning, 810,000 people have visited the museum. This makes Chillida-Leku Guipúzcoa´s leading art museum in regards to the number of visitors and places it, according to surveys, among the top four museums in the Basque Country. For all of these reasons, the organization would like to express its sincere appreciation to all of those who have visited Chillida-Leku over the years.
The organization will continue all of its independent operations, such as the preservation of artistic heritage and employing national and international exhibitions, among other things.
The museum will remain open due to an agreement that respects the conditions that it considers vital to its continuity as defined by Eduardo Chillida and Pilar Belzunce, its creators.
Chillida-Leku was the culmination of one of the artist's lifelong dreams: to create a space for his work where it could be on permanent display. This monographic museum is a faithful representation of the sculptor's fifty year long artistic career. Chillida-Leku is the perfect setting to enjoy the full magnitude of this internationally-known artist.
The museum is divided into three areas: A 12-hectare hillside (nearly 30 acres) with beech trees, oaks and magnolias studded with over 40 sculptures. A service area featuring an auditorium, with images of the artist at work projected continuously, a rest area, and a gift shop. And finally, the centrepiece of the museum is the Zabalaga farmhouse, which houses the smaller format pieces in corten steel, alabaster, granite, terracotta, plaster, wood and paper.
Chillida-Leku is a sculpture in itself - another work of art in which the sculptor perfectly captures and renders his vision of shape, space and the passing of time. Chillidas questions become answers as visitors make their way through the museum grounds.
Eduardo Chillida and his wife, Pilar Belzunce, visited the Zabalaga estate for the first time in 1983 and were immediately impressed by the size and presence of the farmhouse built in 1543. In 1984 the Chillida Belzunce family purchased a piece of the estate which included the farmhouse, essentially in ruins. Chillida found the farmhouse ideal for storing his sculptures while they are in the final oxidation stage. When the sculptures were ready, the idea was to send them to exhibitions and galleries around the world. With support from architect Joaquín Montero, Chillida went about restoring the farmhouse and slowly turning Chillida-Leku into a sculpture garden. All the while, Chillida lost interest in selling off his work. Thus, the idea of creating a museum took shape. The family continued to purchase adjacent pieces of property, until the estate comprised a total of 12 hectares (neary 30 acres).