Borers were miners who, using a steel rod that measured two meters in length and was known as the drill or auger, would make holes in the rocks into which explosives were placed so as to break up the stone by means of controlled blasts. At the end of the nineteenth century and until the beginning of the twentieth century, this craft was held in high regard as, due to its difficult nature, these workers were paid more than their mates. In 1904, when the law on Sunday rest was passed, borer competitions began to be organized in the squares of the mining towns of Biscay – competitions in which bets were placed about who could make the deepest hole in the shortest amount of time. When jackhammers and compressors arrived, manual boring in quarries and mines was no longer necessary. And, while the profession has since disappeared, those competitions have recently been recovered as a rural sport.
Aiming to pay tribute to this extinct profession, Santurtzi, one of the municipalities with a long mining tradition, hired Víctor Goikoetxea to do a sculpture that would commemorate the borers. The artist, always eager to experiment with new materials, proposed a life-sized sculpture of a man with a mining auger in his hands, made with washers. The holes of the washers represent the holes bored by the borers. The piece, made up of 7,000 washers held together with 20,000 welds, was erected in the Fundación Hogar pedestrian area of Santurtzi.
This is not the only piece done by Goikoetxea for said town; in 2010 the artist painted several murals on the main staircase of the Tower House Palace from the eighteenth century owned by the city.
Works commissioned by institutions are a fundamental part of this artist’s daily life: Victor has fully remodeled the Reception Room and the Plenary Hall of the San Sebastián City Hall Building, he has redone the nineteenth-century ornamental murals of the Central Library at the University of the Basque Country in Vitoria, he has refurbished the Plenary Hall of the Hernani City Council and added a historical mural measuring 45 m2 and featuring a mixed technique thereto, and he has just been assigned a mural in the Great Assembly Hall of the municipality of Meinier, in the Canton of Geneva.
Private companies also seek his creativity to transform spaces. The company La Gula del Norte commissioned him to do a mural measuring 14 meters in length for their headquarters that would immerse the viewer in an underwater world. The same company financed the spectacular MiramArt Tunnel, created by Goikoetxea at the Paseo de la Concha of San Sebastián. Another stunning commissioned job that he did last year is the gold thermoformed piece measuring 20 m2 and erected in the BASQUE LUXURY STUDIO lobby. This work of art has been the source of inspiration for both a Basque company and an Italian company to commission similar projects for their main offices.
In addition to the Basque Country, Victor spends long periods of time in Jávea, where his work has already been on display on two occasions and where he has done several pieces for estates and luxury villas. In Europe, custom and made-to-order pieces are becoming increasingly more common, and Goikoetxea is a master in this sense. Whether it be to recover the historical memory of a lost profession, to breathe new life into a space that has been beaten by time, or to conceptualize the ideology of a company, art in good hands is the most eloquent of all the languages.
Tel.: +34 688 620 554