The first works of art born from the incandescent forge of Martín Chirino (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1925 – Madrid, 2019), the great fabulous blacksmith with a universal imprint, make up the sculptor’s first exhibition since his death in the Art and Thought Foundation to which it gives its name, in the Castillo de la Luz.
The exhibition project Martin Chirino. Black queens gathers around a hundred sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, documents and even pieces of sound art inscribed in the founding stage of his artistic career and his first steps in the art of bending iron and spiral. Curated by the art critic and theorist Alfonso de la Torre, the exhibition is the result of a co-production with the Antonio Pérez de Cuenca Foundation, which is released on June 18 and can be visited until September 19, at which time it will travel until the aforementioned Cuenca institution.
In addition, the inauguration hosts in parallel the presentation of a homonymous monograph, written by De la Torre from a dialogue started in 2016, which constitutes the first volume of the so-called Martín Chirino Encyclopedia, to which are added another 17 monographs by critics and specialists in his work to cover all the creative phases of Chirino’s plastic career.
For its part, the exhibition Martin Chirino. Black queens It dates back to the early 1950s, a precursor to the configuration of the mythical Grupo El Paso, which, in the artist’s own words, framed “the beginning” of his renowned sculptural work in the forge under the influence of references such as Paul Klee, Ángel Ferrant and Julio González, as well as many other works of African art.
The tour through the exhibition houses the first sculptures of Chirino, whose spectrum combines different materials from their surroundings, such as wood and stones that are not very noble, and among which parade the pieces Pueblo (1952), Composition-Tribute to Miró (1953); and some Black Queens (1952-1953) «conceived with carved volcanic stone or wrought iron, which are early abstract sculptures in the new Spanish art that arrives», points out the curator of the exhibition, who points out about these works of art that «Chirino he measures in silence and reminds us of that Rimbaud who looks at stillness ».
In addition, the exhibition contextualizes this budding universe of Chirino through the worlds that made up his first mirror, with the presence of works from the international context, such as Klee or Picasso, with an outstanding reference to the tutelary role of his teachers Julio González, Picasso and Ángel Ferrant, along with works by Apel les Fenosa, Plácido Fleitas, Eduardo Gregorio and Manolo Millares, among others. This exhibition section includes a list of African art sculptures, since the itinerary highlights the sculptor’s admiration for Norman McLaren’s creations.
Thus, the exhibition complex is nourished by pieces from multiple rooms and museums where, in addition to the funds from the Art and Thought Foundation itself, more than 20 national collections have been donated for the exhibition, among which the National Museum Center stands out. de Arte Reina Sofía, the IVAM in Valencia, the Canarian Museum, the CAAM, the Patio Herreriano in Valladolid, the Casa África, the Apel-les Fenosa, Azcona and Alberto Jiménez Arellano foundations, as well as relevant private collections.
The result is a retrospective of early works that reveals the germ of a great artistic corpus that closes in on itself like spirals in the wind. «Master Chirino was aware in his last days of the capital importance of this cycle grown in solitude-more-solitude, silence over silence. Lightness and weight, tree or earth, in the words of our sculptor, I think of the silence and stillness of his beloved Brancusi when I see some of these works ”, concludes De la Torre.