Sunday, 24 August 2014

El Peine del Viento

Whatever I know how to do, I've already done. Therefore I must always do what I do not know how to do. (Eduardo Chillida)
The Comb of the Wind. The Wind Comb. Three pieces of rusty metal placed on rocks at the end of a bay where hardly anyone ever comes to? Why the singular form when there are three? Isn't each one of them supposed to be a "comb"? (In spite of popularly being referred to in the plural form, both in English and in the original language, the correct form is singular.)

Questions like these creep into the casual visitor's mind as they approach this corner of San Sebastián. It is my regret that I didn't have the time to visit this site more than once, and the one time I did it, I did it at a time which was probably not the best (thinking of photography...), but one has to make the most of one's opportunities.

To understand this work of Chillida's, you must understand, or at least try to understand, the man himself. You must understand the type of person he was, the vision he had, his purpose. It is imperative, therefore that you should read this superb article, born out of an "interview" with Eduardo Chillida's son, Luis. Click here. You should also visit this page (in Spanish, but you can try using Google Translate) although I think the video sucks.

Something that took 11 years to complete cannot be understood in 11 minutes, perhaps not even in 11 visits. When I came, in terms of photography, it was probably the worst time - round about lunch time - but in terms of the crowd, it was good. Most people were either on the beach or eating. There were a handful of people arriving and leaving, some contemplating, resting, whispering, checking their smart phones, and there was a busker playing not inappropriate music on his Spanish guitar. No noisy stereo systems, no umbrella-waving tour guides. Possible for me to let my camera do its best. There will be another time when I'll be able to contemplate without it.

El Peine del Viento, review & photos
Busker playing ambiental music
To understand El Peine del Viento, you'll have to understand that the three pieces of iron sculpture are almost incidental. It's not about them. It's about the area around them. It's about the rocks, Santa Clara beyond, Mount Igueldo behind; it's about the sea, beating against the rocks incessantly; it's about the wind, its rhythm, its sound... It's about the space. And time.

Three pieces, representing the past, the present and the future. And everything in between.

I would like to share the photos I took, but they're too many, so I decided to make a video out of them. The photos can also be seen on my Flickr account. Here's the direct link to the album, "El Peine del Viento". I hope you'll find these three minutes or so worth your while - it took me much more than that to produce it. ;)

Best to watch it on full screen mode, and on HD. Click on the wheel icon, bottom right, click on quality and select 1080 HD.