Akixo, Kepa “Zigor” (French Basque, b. 1947)
Limited edition of 8
Marked on right side: Akixo EA I/IV and with foundry mark Jaizkibel
8.5in h x 7in w x 5in d
• An Important Main Line, PA Collection
• Acquired from Maison Gerard, New York, NY 28 October 2013
Considered to be one of the last important living artists of the French Basque region, Kepa Akixo, who goes by the name Zigor, is best known for his primitive-looking, rock-like sculptures that explore volume, density, and mass that are arranged in a delicate balance of weightlessness. Whether working on a monumental or diminutive scale, Zigor’s sculptures are inspired by nature, often working in wood and bronze, giving his work a prehistoric and timeless quality, but in very modern form. Also a published poet of note, Zigor best describes the allure of his sculpture in his own words:
“In the shadow of sculptures hides darkness,
And in darkness the shape of mystery,
And in mystery all the shapes.”
– Zigor, In the shadow of sculptures
Zigor grew up in a small village in the southern Basque country. As a young man living during the Franco dictatorship, he became politicly active in the fight for a free Basque country. It was during this period he adopted the name Zigor, which means “whip” in the Basque language. In the 1970s, he published his first collection of poetry, which he still publishes to this day. From 1977 to 1982, Zigor traveled the world extensively working as a photojournalist for news magazines. In 1983, he was hired to photograph the sculptor Remigio Mendiburu in his workshop studio, an event that transformed the trajectory of Zigor’s career to focus on sculpture, and soon after he opened his own studio in Biarritz.
In the 1996, Zigor was introduced to working with bronze and became fascinated with the play of light on the dark, dense metal. The present work, Olerki, meaning “poem or poetry” in Basque, comes from his Olerki series of wood and bronze sculptures of various sizes, and is comprised of primitive, organic shapes in a delicate balance with each other. The present bronze work, although small in scale, is physically heavy yet still conveys an element of play and lightness that defies gravity.
Zigor’s monumental outdoor works can be found in Sydney, Australia; Washington and New York states; as well as Switzerland and Argentina. A monumental bronze sculpture from the Olerki series can also be seen in Biarritz, France.