Sat. Feb 22nd, 2020

The forest of Oma moves due to the plague of the pine

The oma forest it’s dying. The emblematic set of 500 painted trees by the artist Agustín Ibarrola suffers the one known as brown band or pine plague, a disease that has affected 80% of them. The situation, urgently, has forced us to take measures to save this work located in the biosphere reserve of Urdaibai, and the Diputación de Bizkaia, together with the family of the creator, has decided to move it, reproducing the paintings, or at least all its concept, in a nearby forest.

“It is a symbol, we cannot avoid the death of the pines, but we can keep alive the work of Ibarrola and his great idea,” explained the deputy general yesterday, Unai Rementeria. The institution has been looking for a new location in the same nature reserve for months, which will maintain the accessibility of the original and in which, yes, they will plant a type of tree “more ecological and durable” than the industrial pine that, between 1982 and 1985 , Ibarrola used as a canvas for his geometric and figurative games, grouped into 61 artistic sets.

The paintings that Bilbao made in the trees will be repeated in another forest of the Urdaibai reserve

The “transfer of the concept” will be carried out under the direction of a commission of experts composed of the director of Fine Arts of Bilbao, Miguel Zugaza, the conservator of the Guggenheim, Lucía Agirre, the artist Javier Riaño and the professor of the University of the Basque Country Fernando Bazeta, who also works in the selection of the location. In reproduction Ibarrola cannot participate, 89, but will be carried out by people qualified in Fine Arts and all the steps will be supervised by the family of the creator so that the artistic language of the work is respected and “Don’t betray” your spirit. José Ibarrola, son of Agustín, explained yesterday that this is his father’s wish.

While the change takes place, the Diputación, owner since 1990 of oma forest, will condition the safe areas of the forest so that it can continue to be visited. Although it has been closed for a year and a half, there are still many people who sneak in. In addition to being “impassable” and suffering from the disease of his pines, the artist’s son refers to his “natural” deterioration. “The forest is old and old and tends to disappear,” he said. Many of the original paintings, due to the passage of time but also because many trees were cut down by the previous owner, can no longer be seen.

Unai Rementeria and José Ibarrola offered a joint press conference this Wednesday

Unai Rementeria and José Ibarrola offered a joint press conference this Wednesday

For now, there are no deadlines or budget for the transfer because it is not known how long it can last. What seems certain is that in the new forest there will be an interpretation center. The family proposes that the diseased trees that must be cut down be deposited in it. He also believes that the change is an opportunity to recover in the new trunks some of the lost drawings of the eighties, of which there is testimony in the photographic documentation of Ibarrola.

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