Martín Chirino

Las Palmas, 1925, Madrid, 2019

Chirino was born in La Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1925. At 15 he already was working with his father in a maritime business where he was to discover the African coast and the use of the necessary tools to work iron and wood in the shipyards at the port.

At the age of 23 he entered the School of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid and investigated forging work, completing his studies at the School of Fine Arts in London. He held his first exhibition at the Atheneum of Madrid in 1958, at the same time beginning to become familiar with artists such as Saura, Millares and Canogar. He participated in the foundation of the group “El Paso”, which was the vanguard of art in Spain. From there, he began his journey around different countries, from Paris to New York where his “Spirals” are exhibited en the MOMA in 1960.

Chirino was an artist of great intellectual weight who carried out an important task in cultural promotion. He occupied academic posts of relevant importance, and received a host of prizes and medals. He was president of the Circle of Fine Arts and directed the Atlantic Centre of Modern Art of La Palmas.

He died in Madrid on 11th March, 2019.

Exhibited Works

  • “Aeróvoro”, bluing wrought iron sculpture, 2007.

On the Spanish sculpture scene in the middle of the XX century, which was dominated by two giants as were Oteiza and Chillida, Chirino managed to affirm his personal wedge thanks to his command of forged iron, taking this hefty metal into spirals or stretching it in space, only to be bent at the will of the artist.
In this piece, centrifugal energy is unfolded. It seems that the metal searches to get larger in space, as if it wants to take flight. The central knot is reminiscent of an incipient spiral, or more than anything a knot which has hardly been sketched, as if he were remembering that the Canary Islands are the point of union between two cultures, of two continents such as are Europe and Africa; an arm held out between two worlds. It takes us towards a feeling of amplitude, as if the artist would have managed to come to an understanding with his own origins and at the same time, to open himself out to the world, to embrace it with no fear.
This liberty is appreciated indisputably in this “Aeróvo” which encompasses the own world of Martin Chirino: “the spacial dIchotomy between what is closed and open, what is soothing and what is aerial, what is compact and what is transparent; the laden and trembling; finally the centripetal and centrifugal, the password of the author. (Calvo Serraller ,2018).