Since opening in 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has been endowed with a series of important pieces of contemporary art, featuring some of the most significant works from the second half of the 20th century. After 18 years in operation, the institution’s masterpieces needed a permanent exhibition space to give the public continuous access to its collections. With this idea in mind, the museum’s galleries were reimagined and evaluated based on their characteristics and suitability for different types of displays.
This new layout has created an enhanced viewing experience, starting on the third floor, The Foundations of Today’s Art, where exhibition feature influential works of modern art, providing an art historical context for contemporary pieces. The second floor features Temporary Exhibitions. Views of Contemporary Art, on the museum’s first floor, brings cutting-edge works to the general public through the Film & Video Program, in addiction to exhibits that are more experimental in nature, focus on a specific period in the career of an artist from the collection, or concentrate on aspects that offer a new perspective on the museum’s holdings. With this spatial redistribution, the museum gives priority to the relationship between the visitors and the works of art, as well as integrating the pieces within the architectural framework through a vivid dialogue.
PERMANENT INSTALLATION, RICHARD SIERRA
The Matter of Time (1994-2005) is Richard Sierra’s most complete rumination on the physicality of space and the nature of sculpture. Permanently installed in the largest gallery of the Frank Gehry-designed museum, seven commissioned sculptures join Sierra’s Snake (1994-97). Freed from the traditional pedestal or base and introduced into the viewer’s space, this sculpture forges a new relationship with the spectator, whose experience of an object becomes crucial to its meaning. The Matter of Time enables audiences to perceive the evolution of the artist’s sculpted forms, from his relatively simple double ellipses to the more complex spiral. Shifting in unexpected ways as viewers walk in and around them, these sculptures create a dizzying, unforgettable sensation of space in motion.