editorial feature

14 Amazing Photos of Guggenheim Bilbao

Urban photographer Trashhand's take on the Frank Gehry-designed masterpiece

Sometimes, a change of perspective changes everything. Seeing someone else’s point of view can drastically alter how you relate to them. It was a shift in painterly perspective in art history that brought about the Renaissance, and a subversion of this perspective that brought about what we call modern art. As society shifts, differences in perspectives can change politics, society, and life as we know it.

Looking at a building from a new perspective is no different; we can see things about its shape, form, and meaning that we never saw before. Seeing it from 57 meters up, balanced on a small ledge, and jumping across the roof… now that’s a different thing altogether.

Photo by Trashhand, 2017

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim art gallery building in Bilbao, Trashhand, an urban explorer and photographer, and Johan Tonnoir, a free-runner, went up, around, and over the building to take breathtaking, and heart-stopping photographs of the building as it’s never been seen before. “The mission of getting to a location is just as beautiful as the location itself in my eyes,” says Trashhand. “It’s about the adventure and the exploration; the mission is everything, the photo is everything.”

Photo by Trashhand, 2017

As part of the film Bending Gravity at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Johan and Trashhand explored the building inside and out: encountering the iconic artworks in the museum’s collection along the way, including Jenny Holzer’s Installation for Bilbao and Richard Serra’s The Matter of Time.

Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017

But the modernist building is just as beautiful as the artworks held within it, and the urban explorer pair’s journey around the space opens up this mind-bending architecture – all curves and squiggles rather than straight lines – and lets us see the beauty hidden in the unseen parts of the building. As Trashhand says, “the first thing I always try to look for is symmetry in all my locations, but a place like the Guggenheim, where symmetry rarely exists, you have to appreciate the abstract in it all.”

Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017

From Trashhand's perspective, we can see how innovative Frank Gehry's design for the building really is; its curved walls and pillar-less open spaces seem to defy the laws of physics.

Much in the same way that, as Trashhand says, the freerunner Johan "defies gravity with the way that he moves."

Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017

But also, "photography defies time; as time passes, I’m able to capture that moment and break its rule, and hold on to that second and that moment forever." In its 20th year, the moment that Trashhand has captured in these photos is Guggenheim Bilbao at its best – a space still as mind-blowing, logic-defying and breathtaking as ever.

Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017
Photo by Trashhand, 2017

Watch the film here.

Explore the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao collection here.

Words by Leonie Shinn-Morris
Credits: All media
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