Martín Chirino

“Going from the particular to the general, from the origin to the universe…Everything around you is part of the same project.”

Martín Chirino (Las Palmas, Spain, 1925 – Madrid, Spain, 2019) is best known for his abstract iron sculptures, in which he sought maximum expression with a minimum of matter. Chirino’s work is characterized by references to the Canarian islands and the ancestral culture of the region, primarily seen in his works featuring spirals. In 1948, he went to Madrid and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando before traveling to London and finishing his studies at the Royal Academy of Arts. He went to Paris shortly after this and became acquainted with iron sculptures by Julio González, which had a great influence on his work. Upon returning to the Canary islands, he created his “Black Queens” series, which were highly influenced by African art and surrealism. In 1957, he was a co-founder of the El Paso group, which included artists such as Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, and Luis Feito. A two month trip to Greece in 1964 inspired Chirino’s “Mediterránea” series, which featured hollow sculptures characterized by iron sheets painted in vibrant colors. The artist won a number of awards and also held many administrative positions related to the arts.