15 December 2015

Erasmus North Trip - Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum and Oteiza's Statues

After our magical stay in San Sebastián, we moved on to Bilbao where we spent our second and third night. Our hostal this time wasn't as exciting, but we coped and perhaps had even more fun as we got to know each other among Erasmus students more and more.
On the first day we walked past the old railway station and along the river that crossed Bilbao, the Nervión, and enjoyed the colorful views of the buildings alongside it. However, I have to say that these pictures portray the nicest buildings we saw as the city is very industrial and when the weather is bad it looks a bit grey and dull, which is why my first impression of it wasn't too positive. However, that changed soon because of its art.

The promenade below was my favourite, not just for what it looked like but because of the number of times we passed fom it, chatting before going out at night and happily singing as typical Erasmus students. If I ever go back, I will remember those moments. 

The green statue on the left (which I don't have the details of) was only one of the many modern statues around the city that I found very intriguing. Art in Bilbao isn't easy to read or interpret, but there are so many little signs everywhere that I almost felt like the whole city wanted to convey a message; mainly one of reflection over human existence, which is reflected in Oteiza's statues and the legacy that he left in the city. 

Architecture is perhaps the strongest part of Bilbao's art. It structures the city by giving it its own personality. Take this bridge: we could see this not just as a modern bridge which is using new techniques, but an aspiration of individuals to aspire to greatness - the sky symbolising the divine. And not just of any individual, but those from Bilbao who through hard work set up a vibrant city rich with professional opportunities. 

This giant spider statue, "Maman" (=mum) is by French artist Louise Bourgeois, and it's kind of creepy to look at. Apparently it has a double meaning, representing how protective and oppressive motherhood can be. 
And finally we got to the glorious Guggenheim Museum! Look at how amazing the architecture of this building is! Frank Gehry, a Canadian architect planned this, and it's been in Bilbao only for eight years. There are other five Guggenheim museums by various artists - it is my intention to go and see them all! The other ones are in New York, Berlin, Venice, Abu Dhabi and Helsinki.

This geometric structure is by Japanese artist Anish Kapoor and it's called Tall Tree & The Eye. It's made of 73 reflective spheres anchored around three axes. It took him 30 years of investigation to create this artwork!

These pictures are from the hall inside of the museum. I found it so beautiful! The open windows show you the panorama from the lower to the top floors and give you such a sense of power. 

I love looking at people in museums! Haha

This structure, Matter of Time by Richard Serra, felt a bit like a maze. The effect was disorientating and kind of scary. I loved looking at contemporary art instead of the usual classic one which I love, but isn't as challenging as it used to be before I took history of art classes at school and university. Contemporary art is so hard to understand to me but after visiting this museum I feel the need to look into it more than I have done in the past, and try and give different interpretations to artworks. There were a few paintings I looked at that made me feel emotional; right now I can't remember their names or artists, but I'm just glad to have had a little moment by myself in a museum. Personally, I feel like art isn't a social activity and enjoy museums a lot more by myself (now I'm sounding like a nerd lol!).
I couldn't take any more pictures as it's forbidden inside the museum, but I would say that I gave you quite a few sneak peeks of the inside of the Bilbao Guggenheim.
This massive statue is by Basque artist Jorge Oteiza and I find it incredible. I know it's hard to appreciate it at first, but after studying it I understood that the change in the perception of the space around us is what mostly strikes us about it, and even if it wouldn't seem like it at first, it can be very significant for humans in an open space.

My next post will include another building by Frank Gehry and some wine tasting in a region called La Rioja. I hope not to have bored you too much with my artisty ramblings! :)