International Conference on Sculpture (August 1988) | Eduardo Chillida

Text of the lecture given by Eduardo Chillida at Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland) – International Conference on Sculpture (August 1988)

Limits are the real protagonists of space, just as the present, another limit, is the real protagonist of time.

The concept of place implies dimension and limits, but a point is a place par excellence and has no dimensions or limits.

The world of geometry occurs in the mind where points cannot be measured but do however occupy space.

Within this plane of space accompanied by its brother time, under the heavy weight of gravity, feeling matter as a slower space, with surprise I wonder about that which I ignore.

Is the fact of often being disoriented not a decisive step for an artist?
Is art not something that happens to us faced with ourselves and with an implacable witness: our work?

With one line the world comes together, with another line the world is divided, drawing is both beautiful and extraordinary.

The artist uses codes that can be traced back to prehistoric times. These codes are exact and free. They are based on perception and its limits, and on reason, intuition and the constant conflicts between the two.

At dawn I became aware of the work of art. It can take a thousand different forms but all are one and the same: its place between perception and freedom, its mark to be identified, its motive, need and its ends, all in agreement.

I work to learn; I value the act of knowing more than I value knowledge itself. I think I should dare to do what I do not know how to do. I should dare to search, to imagine where I cannot see, and to long to recognize what I cannot perceive.

One never knows enough, as what is known also carries what is unknown within it.

I have yesterday’s hands, I still haven’t got tomorrow’s. I know the piece before creating it, but I don’t know nor do I wish to know what it will be like. I have a lot of information about the piece which I am living, but I don’t want to let this knowledge inhibit my freedom and the fresh breath of the present.

I think that any pre-conceived work is born dead.
One should not forget that the future and the past are contemporaneous. Only one of the three dimensions is active, the one that comes to me from afar through what is close. Nevertheless all three are always potentially active, merely alternating their activity.

When risk implies the search for the unknown, it may sometimes direct us towards art. With a light to see how I blind I am, I was placed between the no longer and the not yet.


CHILLIDA, Eduardo: “Text of the lecture given by Eduardo Chillida at Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland) – International Conference on Sculpture (August 1988).” In: Chillida y Tàpies en la Colección de Telefónica. Madrid: Fundación Telefónica, 2002.

Published in Zóbel-Chillida. Criscrossing paths Barcelona, 2019. Mayoral p.41-42

Picture: Eduardo Chillida working on a Lurra in the Maeght Foundation, Saint-Paul de Vence, 1973. Photo: Francesc Català-Roca