Coinciding with its 30-anniversary celebrations, the Mayoral gallery hosts an unprecedented and fascinating dialogue between the works of Fernando Zóbel and Eduardo Chillida. Alfonso de la Torre curated this game of mirrored poetic symbolism, in which 13 oil paintings by the Spanish-Filipino painter and a dozen sculptures by the Basque artist are presented. They are inevitably intertwined, as you can see in comparisons of some pieces such as Zóbel’s ‘Gestos’ ('Gestures') and Chillida’s ‘Hierros de temblor III’ ('Trembling Irons of tremor III') or Zóbel’s ‘Cuadrícula’ ('Grid') and Chillida’s 'Lurra M-20'. Zóbel’s paintings on canvas hang from the wall, and in front of them you see Chillida’s sculptures in terracotta, bronze and steel.
In the mid-1950s, after discovering Rothko's work, Zóbel reduced his compositions to only what was essential, both in terms of themes and the use of colour. In this transition to the abstract, light would become an important theme, just as it was for Chillida, who evoked light between the strength of the materials and the suggestion of cracks and holes.
Both artists were born in 1924, but, despite going down similar aesthetic paths, neither was well-known until around 1964. That’s when Zóbel, as promoter of the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art in Cuenca, proposed incorporating the piece 'Abesti Gogora IV (Canto rudo IV)', by the Basque master. ‘It was a moment of mutual admiration,’ writes De la Torre, ‘the feeling of having known each other forever.’ It’s a respect that is now evident and made explicit in the correspondence they maintained throughout the years.