This article was translated by John R. Bopp
We’re a week ahead of ourselves, but on October 19, 1997, the element that best represents that miracle of the transformation of Bilbao and of the whole Land of the Basques opened its doors.
We’re celebrating today to remember José María Aguirre Larraona, an Ertzaintza police officer who was killed by the ETA on October 13, just a week before the inauguration, and who the plaza in front of the Guggenheim is named after.
We’re celebrating today in order to remember the vision, bravery, and skills of all those who made it possible for this 21st century architectural icon to be in Bilbao. It’s a building that is at the vanguard of design, architecture, and engineering, as we can learn in this documentary (in Spanish).
It’s a project that has shown, in these last twenty years, that the bet wasn’t just worth it, it was absolutely essential for our country and how it’s seen in the world. In these twenty years, the Museum has proven itself not to be a folly, or perishable, all this despite the efforts of some who would like it to be so.
We do so also because until October 14, the museum is putting on a light and sound show using the façade as the canvas to celebrate this date. It’s a show that has left thousands of attendees speechless, as it’s a show that’s been seen around the world.
The spectacle, called “Reflections”, which will be shown October 11-14, uses 900,000 lumens’ worth of projected lights, almost 5km or 3mi of fiber optic cable, 120 tons of equipment, 160,000 watt speakers, and more than 1,000,000 lumens of lighting equipment.
It’s a show that brings together history and iron and boats on the Bilbao estuary, with the museum, its conception, construction, and success.
We, whose parents worked at the “Compañía Euskalduna de Construcción y Reparación de Buques”, couldn’t help getting excited at seeing the Bilbao Guggenheim transformed, thanks to the image projected for a moment, of the Artagan-Mendi, one of the most important ships in the history of the company. This ship, which was surely not a chance decision, made its inaugural voyage for the Sota and Aznar Shipping on October 14, 1917, almost to the day, 80 years later, when the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum would open just a stone’s throw away from the land the Euskalduna occupied.
In addition to talking about articles we’re collecting from media around the world, we’d also like to transmit our warmest congratulations and thanks to this extraordinary project.
It’s clear that the urban transformation of Bilbao Metro, and of our whole country, could have happened without this magnificent museum and the excellent edifice that houses it. Yes, that’s true.
But with it, Bilbao got put on the map, and we Basques as a society and as a people have been witness to the fascination that this building has inspired all around the world, making it a key ally in improving our image.
Congratulations, many thanks, and we hope, will all our heart, that the shine of these past twenty years will go on for a long, long time.
The Guardian – 11/10/2017 . Gran Bretaña
Guggenheim Bilbao’s 20th anniversary light show – in pictures
London-based artists 59 Productions were commissioned by Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to create a 20-minute public artwork
Télérama – 11/10/2017 – Francia
Regardez en live l’impressionnant “mapping” du musée Guggenheim de Bilbao
Pour fêter son vingtième anniversaire, le musée basque s’offre un spectacle hors du commun : ses pièces les plus emblématiques feront l’objet d’une projection vidéo sur les parois de l’édifice imaginé par Frank Gehry. Un événement à voir en direct sur Télérama.fr à partir de 20h30 ce mercredi 11 octobre.
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