Axe Head is a program of exchanges and exhibitions between Basque and Canadian artists and art institutions.

Toronto artist Jacob Whibley will exhibit his work at ANTI- Liburudenda, a bookshop and cultural centre in Bilbao. Concurrently Art Metropole, an art bookstore and cultural centre in Toronto, will feature an artwork by the Basque artist Alexis Hojaldre (Pernan Goñi).

Jacob Whibley

IOU (2013), Collage on book covers, 19 x 24 cm

For the past eight years, Jacob Whibley has produced a body of work that looks as if it could have been made in Europe between the two World Wars. This is not meant as a criticism, but as a comment on his ongoing interest in specific aesthetics and art histories, and a fidelity to particular materials. Often working in the difficult, but far too easily maligned, medium of collage, the artist’s work to date is rooted in the language of early modernist art, architecture and design. Russian constructivism, the Bauhaus and de Stijl influence the sophisticated forms that Whibley’s work takes; however, his collages and sculptures are more than simple homage.

Whibley’s studio is filled with storage boxes and filing cabinets containing sheets of paper, scrapbooks and ledgers, dating from the mid-20th Century to as far back as the mid-1800s, and it is from this trove that he constructs his work. Beginning with what he calls an “imbalanced initial placement”, his challenge is to build a composition that combines visual complexity with cohesiveness. One of his goals is to foreground the histories embedded within the materials he uses. “My materials retain the traces of their experiences and interactions with people and the environment,” he explains. “I’m attracted to pre-existing tears, crumples and folds, and the discolouration from years of storage.” The commonplace nature of the materials imbues Whibley’s work with a sense of both the contemporary and the timeless.

Whibley is a Toronto-based artist whose work has been exhibited in solo and group shows internationally. Exhibitions include White Walls Gallery, San Francisco; The Power Plant, Toronto; Breeze Block Gallery, Portland; Espace de l'art concret, Mouans-Sartoux, France; and Guerrero Gallery, Los Angeles. He is represented by Narwhal Art Projects in Toronto and Bourouina Gallery in Berlin.

Alexis Hojaldre (Pernan Goñi)

Untitled (2013), Green ink on paper, 29.7 x 42 cm.

Pernan Goñi was born in Oñati, Gipuzkoa, in 1968. He received his Fine Arts degree from the University of the Basque Country, and currently lives and works between Bilbao and Barcelona. As a professional draftsman, he has collaborated with entities such as Arteleku (San Sebastian), the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Tabakalera in San Sebastian, the Cervantes Institute in Istanbul, among others. He also self-publishes his fanzines in the Basque Country and Barcelona.

Professionally renowned for his “graphic recording”, Pernan draws live in situ to synthesize ideas during events, such as conferences and round tables. There is a certain predilection for sketching, as the nature of the activity requires hasty drawing, which results in images of a casual aesthetic. Alexis Hojaldre is the alter ego that Pernan Goñi has developed to draw for pleasure. These are drawings at the edge of his commercial labour, without any mercantile or communicative intention.

In this, his first exhibition in Canada, the artwork by Alexis Hojaldre (Pernan Goñi) presents diverse elements, from figures that overlook from mounds of geomorphic masses to structures in ruins. In the drawing, there is a game of evocation of multiple textures: terrestrial, ethereal or liquid; hard or soft; metallic, muddy, or vegetative. The resulting scene suggests a reverie made real that is reminiscent of the Surrealist era of the 1920s. The influence of historic etchings, such as the work of Gustave Doré, and comic book artists of the 80s, such as Moebius, is also perceptible.


Founded in Toronto in 1974 by the artists’ collective General Idea (Jorge Zontal, AA Bronson and Felix Partz), Art Metropole is a not-for-profit organisation with a focus on the production, dissemination and contextualisation of artist-initiated publications in any media, especially those formats and practices predisposed to sharing and circulation. What distinguished Art Metropole from other artist-run centres at the time was its decision to collect and document living culture, focusing on artworks such as artist’s books, magazines, posters, multiples and video, that often circulated outside of the traditional gallery system. The Art Metropole Collection resides at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and consists of over 13,000 items ranging primarily from the 1960s to the mid-1990s that reflect the key conceptual, social and political concerns of artists through those times.

The ANTI - Liburudenda bookstore is a very special enterprise that departs from typical commercial criteria. They have books that are not sold in other stores, and on its shelves you will find books on a variety of subjects, from architecture, design, and illustration to wonderful books for children. In addition to selling books, ANTI is an agent that is fully integrated into the life and cultural activity in the San Francisco neighborhood of Bilbao. In addition to that it also organizes exhibitions, and as such, is a bookstore that is not limited by selling. That is how the ANTI- experience is as rich and interesting as it is.



Jacob Whibley

Pernan Goñi

ANTI- Liburudenda

Art Metropole


Bill Clarke

PDF - Axe Head #04 pamphlet