Kepa Akixo, Zigor, was born in 1948 in Aretxabaleta, Guipuzcoa, in the Basque Country.
In the early 1970s, he moved to Labourd, discovered poetry and published his first poetic notebooks. Until 1982, he traveled the world as a reporter photographer for major news magazines and the agency Capa Press.
In 1983, when he discovered the work of Remigio Mendiburu, watching him work in his studio in Hondarribia, he decided to devote himself completely to sculpture. He then sets up his workshop in Biarritz where he lives and works.
A sculptor, photographer, painter and poet, Zigor gives us the feeling of the world in its archaic and universal power. The strength of his works, imbued with a sensual balance between matter and space, takes us into a verticality that unites our roots to our souls, and invites us to look at the horizon of a love consumed between man and nature.
His encounter with the universal
Through nature and man.
– Nature: Zigor’s affinity with nature is the dominant line that structures his work, the fundamental motive for his inspiration. Are transmitted to the one who looks and receives outlines of pebbles, torrents, fir trees … but not only. The perception that the artist has through his work a singular poetic and emotional transfer.
– the man, another basic element of his creation. The intervention of the man is sensitive by the trace of the tool, the texture, the polishing of the sculpture. But, more broadly, his works say Zigor’s love for the human, for the other, listening to the other in all its dimensions.
Love of nature and sense of the human, he gets it first from his native land, his first universe, the Basque Country.
Another strong characteristic of his work is the form and order in which he installs his entanglements, his accumulations; his way of dealing with gravity. Attentive to the lines that create space, he stages volumes that respond to one another and, through an unstable equilibrium that happens almost by chance, organizes the contrasts between mass and movement.
He reveals an innate sense of “ingenious balance”.
His correspondences with the universe
He has a keen awareness of this function of the creator who upsets an earlier order and the chaos – it is one of the words that he uses all the time – so this provisional chaos proposes a new order of things, as obvious as the previous one. He uses the metaphor of a river in flood. It moves rocks, tree trunks, and when the storm is over everything seems to be in place again, as if nothing had happened, down to the smallest pebble.
The importance of drawing in his work
The drawings and sketches of his notebooks reveal the work in progress. His research of the three-dimensional traces its structure, with a particular power of evocation. We thus have traces of the genesis of his work, and an opening towards his imagination. For Zigor, drawing is like a first thought, the beginning of a sentence. A little something that appears and structures the sensation. But the sentence is not definitively written In the exchange with matter, the next step, he regains all his freedom.
It happened in spite of himself.
Until now, he mainly shaped sculptures of the interior. Today, his work focuses more on monumental sculptures. Their place is outside. The job is not the same anymore. The first monumental sculptures were installed in nature: on a hill, in Biarritz; in a “little piece of land near Anglet”, between the pinada, the coast, the estuary of the Adour and the sea … Like a rock among the others, he says. The works in project can also be part of an urban context, with a new rhythm to be find.
In the end, what emanates from Zigor’s work is strength and humanity. He says through it that art and poetry can change the world, contrasting with dominant discourses.
The work also carries a spiritual dimension, a mystic that he considers fundamental. I carve as I pray, he says. And he compares his sculpture to a Gregorian chant.
He is finally a free man, a freedom of nature, but also a freedom gained, trace of his commitments yesterday. Prisoner of nothing.
I’m happy to welcome Zigor again to the HEGOA gallery that I run, thanks in large part to him. Beyond a great artist, committed and free, multiple and deep, it is above all the friend of a life. The one I chose by marriage, the one that allowed me to become a gallerist today. To introduce Zigor is to share with the fans of the gallery the power and the richness of the Basque culture, the beauty of its landscapes, the strength and the poetry that emanate from it. For Zigor, culture shapes mountains and waves sculpt the matter. For me, Zigor has the strength of the Pyrenees and in his heart tenderly resonates the sound of the sea.
Nathalie Atlan Landaburu
Zigor – Mendiak eta Itsasoa / Montagne et Mer
from May 17 to July 27, 2019
16, rue de Beaune