Ivorypress at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao
From 24 November 2021 to 30 January 2022, the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao will exhibit the artist’s books Open Secret and Reflections. Both artist’s books, Open Secret by the British sculptor Anthony Caro (1924-2013) and Reflections by the Basque artist Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), have been published by Ivorypress. Both artists explored the sculptural quality of the book, choosing to use the written word as part of their edition. This exhibition establishes a dialogue between the works of the two artists as part of a multi-institutional exhibition programme that will take place in museums, libraries and universities across Europe and the United States during 2021-2022 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ivorypress.
Participating institutions include the National Library of Spain in Madrid, the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, the British Library in London, the Centre for Cultural Initiatives of the University of Seville, the Ivorypress space in Madrid, Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge, the Museo Chillida Leku in Hernani, the Museo Lázaro Galdiano in Madrid, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the MoMA in New York, the Neues Museum in Berlin, the Stanford University Library in California, the Warburg Institute in London and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven.
Reflections (2002), created by Eduardo Chillida, was the first artist’s book published by Ivorypress. The sculpture-box contains three volumes: Part I comprises eleven facsimiles of works on paper, each chosen by Eduardo Chillida to represent a section of his oeuvre between 1950 and 2000. Part II is a facsimile of one of Chillida’s unpublished notebooks, handmade through an elaborate cutting and folding process. Part III contextualises the graphic work through a series of photographs by the Italian Magnum photographer Ferdinando Scianna and texts by the British art historian John Berger and the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.
Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) was born in San Sebastian, the city where he lived most of his life and where he built his own museum, Chillida-Leku. Considered by many to be the best-known contemporary Spanish sculptor in the world, throughout his career he received numerous awards, including the Grand Prix des Arts et Lettres de Paris (1984), the Wolf Award (1985), the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts (1987) and the honorary gold medal of the city of Vitoria (posthumous, 2002). Chillida took part in some of the most outstanding art exhibitions at an international level, such as the Venice Biennale (1958, 1988, 1990), the Carnegie International (1964 and 1978) or the Dokumenta (editions II, IV and VI); he also showed his works in more than a hundred individual exhibitions held in renowned institutions such as the National Art Gallery in Washington (1979), the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid or the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.
The artist’s book Open Secret (2004) was created by Anthony Caro using four materials: stainless steel, grey cardboard, bronze and brass. In Open Secret, the sculpture opens and invites the reader to enter a world of poetry in a book-like structure, complete with binding and text inside. Each sculpture, designed by the artist, contains a folder of poems handwritten by the German poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger in English and German and a handwritten passage by Anthony Caro from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The various pages of the folders are printed on handmade Japanese paper, while the folders for each of the sculptures were printed in a different ink colour (silver, light brown, dark brown and black, respectively). Each sculpture is wrapped in black silk, screen printed by Nicola Killeen for Open Secret.
Anthony Caro (New Malden, UK, 1924-London, UK, 2013) was born in New Malden, a suburb of south-west London, into a Sephardic Jewish family. His abstract work is the result of assembling large industrial metal parts, often painted in bright colours. Among the numerous awards he has received are the Praemium Imperiale for sculpture in Tokyo (1992) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture (1997). Caro was knighted in 1987 and awarded the Order of Merit in 2000. His first solo exhibition took place in 1956, and since then his works have been included in a large number of group and solo exhibitions around the world. His participation in the Venice Biennale participation in the 1999 Venice Biennale, the retrospective exhibitions at MoMA in New York (1975) and Tate Britain (2005) and his exhibition Caro. Sculpture From Painting (1998), with which he became the first contemporary sculptor to show his art at the National Gallery in London.
This exhibition is part of a multi-institutional exhibitions program taking place in museums and libraries across Europe and the United States during 2021 and 2022 on the occasion of Ivorypress’ twenty-fifth anniversary. Participating institutions include the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid, the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, the British Library in London, the Centro de Iniciativas Culturales at the Universidad de Sevilla, Ivorypress Space in Madrid, Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge, Museo de Bellas Artes in Bilbao, Museo Chillida Leku in Hernani, Museo Lázaro Galdiano in Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Neues Museum in Berlin, Stanford University Library in California, the Warburg Institute in London, and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven.
As part of the celebration, Ivorypress is publishing moreover a three-volume book that chronicles the history of Ivorypress since 1996, using a variety of primary sources that range from oral histories and archival documents to pictorial records and texts.