Líthica’s achievements in the quarries have become part of the landscape in an abstract and artistic way: the ‘Creation of a Labyrinth’ made of stone, light, sand or plants; erecting stones to create new spaces; carving out steps in the rock; salvaging disused quarries from landfills.
The quarries have inspired a number of artists to create works of art. Wide open spaces and artistic expression fuse to create art with the earth, art with the quarries, and art within the quarries. Líthica possesses works of art such as De memoria (Remembrance),Canteras y azules (Quarries and Blue Tones), Coser la Tierra (Sewing the Earth) andLaberinto mineral (Mineral Labyrinth).These are true forms of land-art: land-art within land-art.
Just as the stone cutter uses his technique to sculpt the landscape and artists use the space to install their work, Líthica works the landscape that it has inherited. Their actions are all about moving soil, clearing quarries, opening up paths and hewing the rock walls to carve out steps. Reflecting and respecting the stone cutter’s language, Líthica is transforming an area into architecture that is alive.
The visual artist Josu Larrañaga (Bilbao, 1948) was in the mechanical-extraction quarries when he created his project De Memòria (Remembrance) in 2001.
He created a large whitewashed grid at the bottom of the quarries and inscribed it with the names of stone cutters and artisans. Their names had been discovered in documents in the island’s Historical Diocesan Archives. Their surnames are our surnames; we could take part in the project by writing our own name, hence helping preserve the memory of the founding and building of our town, our culture and identity, in relation to the earth, just as the stone cutters used to do.
Bárbara de Rueda, a photographer born in Madrid and living in Santander, explored the importance of colours by photographing interactions between colour and matter, conceiving different shapes using gestures and movement and the elements (ground, sky, stone, water, snow and so on), to create new abstract landscapes.
The artist Nuria Román (Madrid, 1966) conceived her global work of art Latitud 40º visualises mending the fractures generated by mankind over time. The 40th parallel is the common thread connecting artists’ creations and actions in different places round the world.
In the summer of 2012, the artist created in Líthica her monumental work Coser la Tierra, in the great Amphitheatre Quarry, a mechanical-extraction quarry. There is a large vertical rift, an intersection between an old quarry and a modern one that was sewn as an example of union, of resolving cultural and social divisions, a gesture for mutual understanding and solidarity.
The Mineral labyrinth, based on the Minotaur’s labyrinth, was designed by Laetitia Lara (París, 1957), with the participation of Nuria Román (Madrid, 1966) and Basile Ribas (Switzerland, 1988). It is in a square shape with multiple pathways; the aim is to reach the centre, whether on your own or in a group. It’s a recreational activity, where people lose their way, find it again and find each other: a reflection of our walk through life.
The artistic conception of the labyrinth converts it into land-art made with the quarries within the quarries. It is a large-scale creation involving lots of people who can sponsor the stones used in its creation. It was built using the traditional dry stone wall construction technique. The labyrinth is a mirror image of the surrounding landscape, reversing the stone cutter’s work by returning the stones to the quarry, and giving it a new lease of life.