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OCTOBER 06, 2018 > NOVEMBER 01, 2018

An exhibition of work by 10 young Basque artists in the "Prison des Évêques" (41, rue de la Citadelle) in Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Participants include seven finalists in the competition for the Itzal Aktiboa contemporary art prize 2018: Taxio Ardanaz, Miriam Isasi, María Jiménez Moreno, Thomas Loyatho, Luis Olaso, Maite Pinto and Léa Vessot, and three artists who have been awarded artist residencies: Natacha Sansoz, Blanca Ortiga and Eluska Zabalo.

Opening hours

Daily except Tuesday, from 11.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Entry free

The artists

Taxio Ardanaz

Taxio Ardanaz (Iruñea/Pamplona, 1978) graduated in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country and lives and works in Bilbao. He is showing a series of 23 paintings on paper inspired by the graphic art of social movements in the Basque Country in the 1970s and ’80s. and conceived as a research into the aesthetics of resistance.

“Metralla" (Shrapnel)

A series of 23 paintings on paper

"How long does an image last? These days, next to no time. Images come and go, one after another; we consume them and they consume us, infinitely and indistinctly. Some images are longer-lasting, but with each exposure to our gaze they seem to wear away, losing their meaning."

"This project draws its inspiration from the abundant graphic material produced in the social upheavals that shook the Basque Country during the 1970s and 1980s, whose characteristic symbols and "landscapes" shaped the struggle that took place on the streets. This archive material has served as a basis for an analysis of the "political" image, in a search for an aesthetic of resistance common to different periods and historical moments, including the current one."

Miriam Isasi

Miriam Isasi (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1983) holds a PhD in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country and the University of Mexico and lives and works in Bilbao. Her video "TAP (L’Internationale)" shows tap-dancers tapping the rhythm of the revolutionary anthem.

"TAP (L’Internationale)"

Installation with video

"This project is a tribute to the Little Cyclone, Dédée or Andrée de Jongh, founder of the Cométe Network which helped hundreds of Allied aviators and other combatants to cross the border from occupied France to Spain between 1941 and 1944 and thence to escape to England."

"Using shrapnel found in combat zones in the Basque Country dating from the Spanish Civil War, I forged metal “taps” for tap dancers. In the video, the dancers are “tapping” to the rhythm of the revolutionary anthem L’Internationale, whose tune was composed in 1888 by Pierre Degeyter, a Belgian worker, musician and composer."

Maria Jiménez Moreno

María Jiménez Moreno (Pamplona, 1978) has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country and lives in Zizur Mayor (Navarre) and works in the Cuenca de Pamplona. She is exhibiting an installation called "Time for Parenting", in which a giant spider web woven with threads of various thicknesses summarizes in symbolic terms her learning experience as a young mother.

"Época de cría" (Breeding season)


"I use art as a means to explore and express my link with Nature through intimate microcosms. I have been working for several years with crochet, combining this technique in some works with other artistic disciplines such as drawing, photography ... "

"The present work is related to two earlier works dating from when I became a mother for the first time. In Alas (Wings) (2013), I represented motherhood from the point of view of the gestation period, of waiting. And in Nidos (Nests) (2013 - 2015), I focused on the preparations and conditioning of the moment. A pair of birds had built a nest on our balcony and we were able to observe the whole process of hatching the eggs and feeding the chicks until they flew away."

"Motherhood marks a change in life as priorities change and new responsibilities take shape. Each woman experiences motherhood in her own way. "Época de cría" addresses motherhood and its complexity from an intimate, personal point of view, based on my own experience. I began this work during my second pregnancy: it is another nest, in this case that of a spider."

"An iconic creature (since Louise Bourgeois turned her mother into a spider) that highlights the dual nature of motherhood, the spider is both protective and predatory. Her web is both a trap and a refuge. I no longer present the nest merely as a place of protection for the young: it is also the environment in which life emerges. It is a net that captures but that also has holes. It is both fragile and strong, a delicate object, beautiful and at the same time intimidating. It is a metaphor of the ambivalent and intrinsic feelings of motherhood, of that unique and personal experience."

Thomas Loyatho

Thomas Loyatho (Bayonne, 1984) holds a Master's degree in Visual Arts and Space from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Liège, Belgium, and lives and works in Hasparren. His installation "70cm / hour" is composed of a woven thread of grass accompanied by a video showing his fingers in the act of braiding.

"70 cm per hour"

Installation with video

"This installation consists of a plaited skein of Tufted Hair Grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) which I braid at aseed of 70 cm per hour, whence the title of the installation. The braid runs through the exhibition space, adapting itself to what it encounters, with occasional conflicts."

"The grass braid is accompanied by a video of my hands working on the braiding and a text engraved on a transparent plate, as well as by a heap of grass to give an indication of how it looks and when I find it on mountainsides, in undergrowth or in peat bogs."

"Braiding the grass provides an opportunity for meditation on the importance that we give to a specific task or action, according to the time that we devote to it. In French, this grass is known as “siesta grass”. Its sweet smell calls on us to pause for a moment of contemplation on our walks. Each time that I open this box to continue my work I am greeted by a fragrance of tea and hay."

Luis Olaso

Luis Olaso (Bilbao, 1986) lives in Getxo and has his studio in Mungia (Bizkaia). He is presenting a painting that forms part of the line of pictorial research that motivates his current work.

"Composición para tres girasoles y un cilindro" (Composition for three sunflowers and a cylinder) (2018)

Oil and acrylic on canvas

"I regard my work as a continuous discourse,and in my current paintings I am moving away from the representation of the human figure to try to bestow psychological and human force on elements lacking personal identity. Fguration and gestural abstraction coexist in mutual symbiosis, with the figurative element diminishing in comparison with my previous work."

"In compositional terms three main elements coexist in this work: colour, vegetal-organic elements, and geometry. The organic elements form the central axis of the narrative. On a symbolic level, the sunflowers serve as metaphors of life, in contrast to the lifeless elements represented here by geometry (the cylinder)."


Blanca Ortiga

Blanca Ortiga (Hornos de Moncalvillo, La Rioja, 1984) studied Political Science, Scenic Creation and Fine Arts in Madrid, and devotes her time to research and contemporary creation. She lives in Bilbao.She has been chosen for an artist's residency of seven weeks at the Huarte Centre for Cntemporary Art. Here she shows a photograph that forms part of a broader project of research.

"Before Inhaling”


"The focus of my work is on exploring how art can explode frontiers through the stresses of encounter and displacement."

"The title of this project refers to the instant before taking a breath, the interval in which breathing is interrupted, where movement collapses and the body appears suspended in void."

"Perhaps it is an act of self-protection, of survival, of contraction, for the sake of self-awa"reness. Perhaps it is to produce a place where desire is organised and readies itself for battle. In this project, taking as my point of departure both artistic references and historical events and situations, I bring into play notions - and the tension between them – from bodies and movement to desire and violence, in an exploration of a praxis that seeks a place, a place that seeks (we know not what)."

Maite Pinto

Maite Pinto (Logroño, 1993) studied Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country and then obtained a Master’s degree from the Manchester School of Art in England. In recognition of her four aquatint etchings,forming part of a project called "The Kindness of Strangers", she has been chosen by the jury as winner of the 2018 Itzal Aktiboa Prize.

“Human chain”; “Temporary home: it is only for three months”; “Memories”; “Utopia”

Four aquatints forming part of a project called "The Kindness of Strangers"

"In 1937, some 4000 Basque children embarked in the port of Santurtzi on the SS Habana, fleeing from the horrors of the Spanish Civil War panorama. “The Kindness of Strangers" focuses on the children who found refuge in England."

"After an arduous voyage on a ship equipped to accommodate only 800 passengers, followed by long weeks living in camps set up by English volunteers, the children found new homes thanks to the hospitality of different organisations and individuals in the UK. Some stayed in Britain for the rest of their lives."

"This evacuation created strong bonds that still endure. Drawing on archival material belonging to the "Association for the UK Basque Children", I have produced a series of aquatint engravings framing the importance of this experience and the deep imprint that it left in the memory of those children. My aim, through these images, is to generate a process of reflection going beyond notions of time and geographical place in order to focus on a historical fact that is still being repeated today."

Natacha Sansoz

Natacha Sansoz (Carcassonne, 1981) studied at the School of Fine Arts in Bordeaux. As a multidisciplinary artist, she operates in the areas of textile art, appropriation, performances and installations. She has been selected for a seven-week artist residency in Huarte next year.

“A Freaky Wedding In The Empty Shack”


"As an artist, I weave invisible links between people, knowledge, territories, languages and artistic disciplinesHere I am transcribing in the form of an installation in an exhibition the sense and meaning of a cross-border experience undertaken in numerous countries over the last two years."

"Since 2015, when I moved to Bayonne, I have not stopped criss-crossing the frontiers of Europe. The complex richness of living in a cross-border territory made me want to step out further. So I decided to join forces with Henri Devier, aka Wilden, under the name of Natach'Apache, to take the road and not look back. We have been on our travels since early 2017 in what we view as "an attempt at occupation" that we cannot give up."

"The idea of my installation is to lay out the results of this experiment around the carpet of "Hostitality". Handmade in southern Turkey, this carpet is a reading space, a space to rest, a space for conversation, projection, play - intimate and at the same time convivial, to reveal fragments of individual lives, to hear the stories of men and women who have known how to live and work together, in another place, in order together to create this fruit of a new economy."

"Different languages can be heard in videos shot in several different countries and cities (Mostar, Sarajevo, Paris, Berlin, Bayonne, Pierre St Martin, Oloron Ste Marie, Izmir, Hammamet, Redeyef, Hondarribia). The objects and records were brought back from our travels. The objective of this project is to question language, stories, borders, war and the role of the host, drawing on the recurring figure of the "bridge" and the metaphor of weaving."

Léa Vessot

Léa Vessot (Mont de Marsan, 1993) graduated from the Higher Institute of Arts in Toulouse (isdaT) and divides her time between Guéthary and Toulouse. She is showing two large paintings whose objective is to provoke a reflection on temporality and change.

"Untitled I & II (2018)"

oil on canvas

"At first glance, these two giant canvases (measuring 2m40 x 2m00) give the impression of an empty surface of whiteness. Gradually there emerge from this coloured pictorial punctuations created by variations in the tones of white. Instead of posing questions of background and form, the paintings consist of two parts produced one after the other but which feed on each other, creating reciprocity. The background is no longer just a background but part of this moving pictorial economy. We can talk about "spaces /backgrounds".

"Among the pictorial elements resulting from the variations of white, some stand out more strongly from the space/background, creating a visual image that is unstable, changing, almost imperceptibly so in places, as if these were shapes that we guess at through a curtain or as shadows on the surface of the canvas".

"A central element of my artistic reflection is the question of temporality, and here the brushstrokes must be perceived as spaced in time. The "temporal lamination" of these canvases allows a delay in the viewer's perception, thereby offering a slower and denser experience of time. They take time to reveal themselves, in contrast with the effervescence of everyday life that results from the multitude of images with which we are bombarded."

Eluska Zabalo

Eluska Zabalo is showing a painting with collage on wood that forms part of her series of "Erratic Landscapes". Born in San Sebastián in 1982, she has a degree in Fine Arts and Sociology from the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV) and she lives and works in Arrasate-Mondragon. Nautilus Lanzarote, in the context of its partnership with Itzal aktiboa, has chosen her for a two-week artist residency in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) next year.

"Paisaje Errático" (Erratic Landscape)

Mixed media on board

"Over the last two decades, my pictorial language has evolved from constructivist-style expressionism to a form of abstract figuration. Its biomorphic nature, involving a combination of both vegetal and mineral elements, has led me to adopt the landscape as a reference base and a source of formalist potential."

"My approach to landscape is concerned not so much with the representation of nature as a source of organic forms as with its potential as a formal rather than thematic motif. For this reason, I tend to say that I paint non-landscapes. In essence, what drives me in these "Erratic Landscapes” is living this process through the experience of form and colour."

Previous news



October 06, 2018

Maite Pinto, a 25-year old artist from Bilbao, has won the Itzal Aktiboa Prize for Contemporary Art for her project “The Kindness of Strangers”, which tells the story of 4000 Basque children sent as refugees to England during the


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Nautilus Lanzarote has chosen Eluska Zabalo for a two-week artist residency in Lanzarote (Canary Islands) next year, in the context of its partnership with the Itzal Aktiboa Prize for young artists in the Basque Country. Nautilus




September 04, 2018

Seven artists chosen as finalists in the competition for the Itzal aktiboa Contemporary Art Prize 2018 - Taxio Ardanaz, Luis Olaso, Maite Pinto, Miriam Isasi, María Jiménez Moreno, Thomas Loyatho and Léa Vessot - will


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