Day 196/365 of Steel – Jorge Oteiza

Abstract metal works

Jorge Oteiza (21 october 1908 – 9 april 2003)
He is considered an important pioneer of abstract sculpture in Spain. The basic shapes for his abstraction are the square and the sphere.

'Construcción Vacía'
Fig 1: ‘Construcción Vacía’
Photo: Simoncio

Jorge Oteiza was born in 1908, in Orio, in the autonome Basque region in Spain. He assimilated the impact of sculptor Henry Moore’s work and developed what he called his ‘intención experimental’ (experimental purpose). This work arose out of his notion that all artistic practice surges from a void that eventually reaches a nothing that is everything. Oteiza’s ideas of experimentation and spirituality put into practice the process of emptying simple geometric forms such as the cylinder, sphere, and cube.

Sculpture in Bilbao/Spain
Fig 2: Sculpture in Bilbao/Spain
Photo: Josu

In 1958, Oteiza began working on his highly geometric, matter-free spatial signs. The sculptor interpreted the void within these works as a point of arrival and the sign that one process has concluded and another is beginning. Empty Box with Large Opening (1958), for instance, belongs to the last great series known as Empty Boxes (Cajas vacías, 1957–58) and represents a remarkably subtle box, where space and form flow much more openly than they do in other components of the same series.

Empty Box with Large Opening
Fig 3: Empty Box with Large Opening
source: guggenheim-bilbao

His work has been installed in numerous international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennial (1976, 1988) and Qu’est-ce que la sculpture moderne? (1986) at the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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