Eduardo Chillida Mount Tindaya Project

La Oliva, Fuerteventura, Islas Canarias
Date: 2003

In 1994 the sculptor Eduardo Chillida had the opportunity to initiate the Tindaya Project in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. A "work without materials" which opens a large interior space (approximately a cube with side length of 50 metres) in the heart of the mountain so that it can "offer men of every race and colour a great sculpture for tolerance". From 1984 Chillida had the idea of intervening the space of a quarry and transform it into a work of art. This vision materialised in Tindaya arises when he realised that the work being done by the quarrymen, extracting stone from the mountain, was complementary with his own idea: that of introducing space into matter. The subsequent synergy is huge, as there are various quarries of ornamental stone that were slowly scratching and therefore damaging the mountain´s surface. This idea of introducing space into matter is present in almost all of Chillida´s artistic works, not only in his drawings and engravings, but also in his works of stone and steel, whose start dates back to his first pieces of alabaster in 1995.

To create a space means to set limits, to delimit it, to define it: inserting a space or emptying it. For Chillida, to empty the heart of Tindaya means to create a space, between the sky and the earth, from where one can contemplate the horizon and abandon oneself to the light and the architecture created by the light itself. At that time -1994-, Chillida needed, apart from the technical confidence provided by my father -the engineer José A. Fernández Ordóñez, an architect capable of developing, fitting and presenting visually this idea he had been thinking over for such a long time. That was the start of my relationship with a Project that not only is a powerful and unsurpassable sculpture, but also gives us a guideline to intervene nature, thanks to the synergies this work implies. If there is a word that could define this project, that word is "Integration". Integration between art and nature; integration between art and technique; space and economic development.

Thanks to the Tindaya Project (to the artist?s observations and works), all the land surrounding the mountain, previously considered as a waste land without any interest, is now valued as something precious. This is a desert area with no sustainable use, apart from its possible short length benefits as a land for building development, thanks to the huge demand for tourism of "sun and beach" whose expansion threatens the whole country.

Tindaya´s Project makes us see the desert surrounding the mountain as what it is, an empty and essential place, as the sculpture itself, and presents the island with a monument of great personality and international scope with a discourse that resembles the land itself: the sky and the earth, the silence and the horizon. It widen cultural aspects of the land and can also be a motor of economic development.

By promoting the Project, the Canary Island authorities try to break the vicious circle of tourism and "sun and beach" urbanisations, and turn towards Art and Nature, putting everything on a quality tourist model (80% of the island?s economy), in which the Sculpture is the outstanding piece representing global interventions, as a sign of clarity, where a desert land is considered a communal good instead of an object to be transformed. This area will now be a 100 km2 protected area, and the origin for the future National Park of steppe land in Fuerteventura. This Project has revealed the true identity of a desert island to the inhabitants themselves, making them look, value, love their land for what it is, and as an investment for the future.

Property/Client: Gobierno de Canarias, Cabildo de Fuerteventura
Architects: Lorenzo Fernández-Ordóñez y Daniel Díaz Font
Engineer: José A. Fernández Ordóñez
Sculptor: Eduardo Chillida

Budget: 75.000.000 €
Current status: Pendiente de adjudicación