Frisoa is the title of the artistic intervention proposed by Xabier Salaberria (San Sebastian, 1969) for Tabakalera, as well as the name of said intervention’s main piece. The project’s baseline can be found in Homenaje al Padre Donosti, Suite con el paisaje de Agiña (1959), a stone frieze created by sculptor Jorge Oteiza for the Banco Guipuzcoano building in San Sebastian. A few years before its creation, architect Luis Vallet and Oteiza were commissioned to pay tribute to composer José Gonzalo Zulaika y Arregi, Aita Donostia, building a chapel and stele in the Agiña mount (Navarre). Out of this context arose the frieze that can be seen currently at said financial institution’s facilities, containing some of the characteristics of the Agiña monumental complex.
Through this project, Salaberria wants to highlight Oteiza’s pedagogical aspect along with the sculptor’s more playful side, as both remain rather unknown. The Frisoa installation is the protagonist of the space that is usually occupied by Tabakalera’s ping-pong table. The San Sebastian-based artist has created a re-reading of the original frieze while maintaining the same proportions. The green background chosen, together with the composition of superimposed objects, brings to mind Ben Nicholson’s billiard games. References to Nicholson are most pronounced in the frieze’s abstract reliefs; in fact, the English artist’s work had an evident influence on Oteiza’s piece. On the other hand, Oteiza’s attention to pedagogy can be seen reflected in Salaberria’s demonstrated interest in working tools, as well as his understanding of space and attachment to play. Along with this work of art, the artist has created an unusual ping-pong table. The sculpture, which could be a replica of the table located in this space, alludes to Oteiza’s –and Nicholson’s– more playful side. Lastly, we find a third sculpture crafted of steel and wood.
This exhibition has been organised by Tabakalera in collaboration with the Jorge Oteiza Foundation-Museum. From April 2023, the Oteiza Museum will be home to an expanded version of the exhibition, produced thanks to the collaboration with Banco Sabadell and Artingenium.