Born in Aretxabaleta, Gipuzkoa in 1948, Kepa Akixo, known as Zigor, is considered the most significant of contemporary Basque sculptors.
Formerly a world traveling journalist and photographer, Zigor was persuaded to turn his attention to the creation of sculpture in 1983, after an encounter with the Basque artist, and founding member of the Gaur group, Remigio Mendiburu.
While shooting the artist in his studio, Zigor had a visceral response to what he discovered there, realizing that he understood the process of creation physically, intrinsically, and that this new understanding signaled a major turning point in his life. After Mendiburu warned him that he should, under no circumstances, venture to become a sculptor, Zigor bought a chainsaw and set to work. Zigor’s life has been devoted to his sculptural practice ever since.
Through an ever evolving exploration of form and material, Zigor has become widely recognized for his creations in wood and bronze. His pieces encompass a tremendous range in size, from the small-scale to massive outdoor sculptures. Zigor’s sculptures are often born from watercolor sketches rendered in brou de noix, a pigment made from the shells of walnuts.
His highly personal oeuvre is, like the work of other sculptors from the Grau group, in particular that of Chillida, very much shaped by his relationship to the environment of the Basque region—both by the natural landscape as well as the significance of the Basque identity. His sculptures and drawings are marked by an enduring simplicity and a sensitivity to achieving a balance between material and space. This acute appreciation of equilibrium allows some of his most monumental works to simultaneously possess a distinct quality of lightness.
Zigor’s creations have been shown throughout Europe in noted institutions including The Villa Beatrix Enea in Anglet (near Biarritz), as well as in Paris, France and Bilbao, Spain. His pieces are found in the permanent collections of museums in Bayonne, Biarritz, and Bordeaux in France and in San Sebastián, Spain.