This sculpture by Jorge Oteiza is one of his famous empty boxes. It represents the second stage, and complements another similar work held at the Museum of San Telmo, San Sebastian, although it is of a considerably larger scale than the works handled by the sculptor up till then. The work weighs some 1,500 kg and was conceived as homage to the Basque warrior Odysseus. Although it is true to say that Odysseus was Greek, geographically speaking, Oteiza identified him as the spirit of the proto-historical Basque hunter, as a Basque warrior. This is an abstract work of sculpture with a tremendous symbolic meaning for the author. It comprises a series of black steel plates, which are arranged at right angles, leaving empty spaces within. Some plates are closed, opaque, whilst others are open, with openings, making it possible to contemplate the inner part of the work. This sculpture reflects the author"s ongoing concern for the de-occupation of space, the significance ofnothingness. Oteiza defined these empty boxes as impressive closed spaces, straight prisms, geometrically straight voids, timeless, labyrinth traps. The author started investigating along these lines in 1957 approximately. In Sao Paulo he presented a series of Empty Constructions in sheet iron. The titles of the works give an idea of the theoretic approach adopted by Oteiza: active de-occupation of space; empty construction; chain of voids, etc.
The Citadel and Vuelta del Castillo
Portrait of a Basque warrior called Odysseus
Jorge Oteiza, 1990
Black steel sheet.
250 x 192 x 235 cm.
Installation:1992. Location: Ciudadela (Citadel).