Monday, 12 March 2018


3 days in Bilbao - I've wanted to go to the Guggenheim since they built it but the experience has eluded me until now. Bilbao is a stunning city, surrounded by hills and cut in half by a river. the old quarter takes you back in time with its tall narrow streets and great bars and the new areas are full of elegant brutal and robust architecture. And food - grazing on pintxos is the answer to breakfast lunch dinner and in fact whenever you fancy a snack. There is sculpture everywhere and most of it good. Anyway on the first day the 6 hours in the Guggenheim was just sublime, wondrous. There is the building where at every turn new shapes and spaces emerge. The Chillida and Heidegger inspired show was stunning. A joy of creativity with many of my favourite artists in play - Jorge Oteiza, Lawrence Weiner, Pierre Huygehe, Norbert Kricke, Gordon Matta Clark and Eva Hesse. Chillida talks about the notion: of the rumour of limits. Standing in front and around his work it unfurls - the mind seems to want to unfold and attempts to flatten out - the revelation of shapes - remaking the pieces. But the physical art and their presence is all about power and often takes one to violence. There was a retrospective of the work of Henry Michaux - thoughtful abstract ideograms, a made up language of reading, music notation, body and drugs which explore the cartography of the imagination. And then there was the Serra. Moving through the permanent piece A Matter of Time, one is struck by being very conscious of self of both ones own body and the shape and space it inhabits within the space. The visual play of mind and body, voids becoming material and negative space continually evolves. The act of controlled viewing a confident, constant, conscious, clarity. Not being able to take photographs was incredibly liberating and intense looking, note taking and sketching has embedded the day into my conscious. So many spaces to see - amongst the daily extended txikiteo I managed The Museo de Aarte Sacro is a real must see. Stunning religious objects and paintings. Museo Bilbao archeological is just dull, Museo Pasos de Semana Santa explains the history of the city and has a model of Bilbao and surrounding area that is to die for, Museo of reproductions is just plain unnecessary, although access to the building is intriguing. The Museo de Bellas Artes has an excellent collection of Spanish artists work. There was a great Goya show, in the later paintings he somehow captured the spirit of the individuals. I have so many notes to follow up.... artists, pieces of work and ideas, it'll keep me going until Glasgow International in April.