SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – An open-air museum dedicated to Eduardo Chillida, one of Spain’s most renowned sculptors, looks set to re-open its doors after an eight-year closure, according to a statement on Thursday by the artist’s family.
The Chillida Leku enclave, in Hernani on the outskirts of the northern seaside resort city of San Sebastian, is an 11-hectare (27-acre) space set in the grounds of Caserio Zabalaga, a traditional Basque country estate, boasting 40 large-scale sculptures, which closed in 2011 after talks between Chillida’s family and Basque local authorities failed to reach an agreement.
“Restoration work is now underway seeking to increase the museum’s capacity and volume of visitors,” the Chillida family statement said.
The museum could only be visited privately by previous appointment since its closure.
At its core stands Caserio Zabalaga, a 16th-century traditional Basque farmhouse around which the museum gradually grew.
This arrangement will “maintain its exact current appearance and structure,” following Chillida’s original concept, although improvements will be made on its lighting system, roofing, flooring, and accessibility, the statement said.
“We are delighted with the new phase Chillida Leku is about to enter,” the Chillida family added.
Mireia Massague, former director of the Gaudi Exhibition Center, will become the museum’s new director, “working closely with the Chillida family who owns and manages the museum.” the note added.
The Chillida also stated this new phase has been possible with the “cooperation and support” of the Basque region’s “different local and regional government authorities.”
The Swiss art gallery Hauser & Wirth, representing the Chillida family interests since 2017, have also been involved in the new Chillida Leku project’s “design and sustainability model.”
The Zabalaga estate was purchased, restored and converted during the 1980s by Chillida and his wife, Begoña Belzunce, and was opened to the public in Sept. 2000.