The Chillida Leku project began in 1983 when Eduardo Chillida and his wife, Pilar Belzunce, purchased the Zabalaga estate. However, the idea had been brewing for a long time, like an unattainable dream in the mind of the sculptor: “One day, I dreamed of a utopia: of finding a space where my sculptures could rest and where people could walk through them as though in a forest.” In the open fields and forests of the Zabalaga country house, Chillida found the perfect place for realising his dream.
“In the Basque Country I feel at home, like a tree adapted to its territory but with arms open to the world. I am attempting to create the work of a man, a work that is mine, and since I am from this place the work will have certain tinges, a black light that is ours.”
Chillida Leku is a unique museum, and itself a great work of art. Nature and art naturally come together in the space. There is no chronological order to the installation of the sculptures.
The place is designed as a large open space that can be traversed in different ways. True to the artist’s philosophy, the visitor can be guided through the space by their own intuition, following the “scent” of the works. In referring to his own work process, Chillida himself was “guided by a scent.”