Basque, Agote, Gernika, and Fukushima

In this paper, I examine the works and philosophy of Basque native sculpture, Xabier Santxotena (1946-), by comparing with his mentor, Jorge Oteiza(1908-2003) and focusing on cultural background of Basque and Agote, an outcast group, derived from the medieval period of Basque.
Santxotena was born in a small district called Bosate located in Navvara province as a descendant of Agote. After graduated from an art school, Santxotena succeeded in running a restaurant. At the same period, he trained himself as a sculpture under the strong influence of Oteiza. In 1998, Santxotena sold his restaurant and changed his position to a professional sculpture and construed three private museums. With keeping independency from marketing policy of fine arts and from the popular fashion of that, Santxotena produced many works there.
Although Santxotena is a devotee of Oteiza and sharing a Basque centered culturalism with him, however, his method is different from his mentor. Oteiza’s philosophy is based on phenomenology and Heideggerian existentialism as a modern sculpture, mixing with Basque mythology. Instead, by following a professional and traditional woodwork of Agote, Santxotena processes materials as abstract art, which is totally different from reductionism of phenomenology and existentialism. The divergence between Santxotena and Oteiza can be analogized as a binary opposition of Nomos and Physis as ideas of Greek philosophy. I will show the possibility of Santxotena’s attempt for a present situation of fine arts, by analyzing such a binary set.
In addition, I will focus on the role of Santxotena’s project for making rural community active. By running three museums and exhibiting his works there, Santxotena addresses to the world from the viewpoint of Basque and the proper experience of Agote.