Aizkorbe's Artwork Enriches Purdue's Campus

"Transformation" towers beside the Visual and Performing Arts Building

Purdue's campus has become a bit more artistic with the installation of works by Faustino Aizkorbe. Aizkorbe's sculpting career has spanned more than 20 years and eight countries. Known for his strong abstracts, he has artwork on display in Spain, Germany, France, England, Canada, Israel, Korea and Japan. The pieces that he created for Purdue University are some of his first permanent installations in the United States.

Aizkorbe was originally approached by Purdue's Class of 1952 to create the sculpture entitled "Transformation" as the class' gift to the University. The idea to comission Aizkorbe came from former Purdue President Steven Beering, who saw some of the sculptor's work on display during a vacation to Europe. Beering thought that Aizkorbe's style of large-scale sculptures would be perfect for Purdue's campus, and the Class of '52 agreed.

"Transformation" is based on the architectural pillars of Aizkorbe's home country, but it also incorporates an organic type of movement that symbolizes Purdue's continual growth and development even as it remains a solid pillar of learning. Along with the new Visual and Performing Arts building, the bronze sculpture helps define the southern end of the Purdue campus.

Concept paintings in CIVL
These concept paintings adorn the Civil Engineering main office

Aizkorbe visited Purdue twice while in the planning stages for the "Transformation" sculpture, and returned a third time to oversee its installation. At that time, he not only left behind the comissioned piece, but also several more works of art that now adorn the campus.

During the early design stages for "Transformation," Aizkorbe made a series of conceptual paintings to help him visualize the project. Viewed by themselves, these studies are colorful abstract paintings. Aizkorbe donated these paintings to Purdue, and the School of Civil Engineering, in collaboration with the University Visual Arts Committee, hired Ken Roswarski of the Purdue Physical Plant to perform a professional, secure installation of the paintings in the Civil Engineering main office.

The Steven C. Beering Sculpture
Aizkorbe's sculptural tribute to Steven Beering stands outside the entrance to Beering Hall

Aizkorbe also left behind a second sculpture. Much smaller than "Transformation," the artist created this work of iron and bronze as a tribute to Steven Beering, the man who convinced the Class of '52 to commission "Transformation" from Aizkorbe. The sculpture consists of four iron railroad tracks topped by a bronze "torso," and is meant to represent the impression that Beering left upon the university. It now stands in front of the entrance to the Steven C. Beering Hall of Liberal Arts and Education, which was renamed several years ago to honor the President Emeritus. At the sculpture's dedication in September of 2003, current Purdue President Martin Jischke said, "This artistic interpretation is a fine tribute to the spirit of Dr. Beering's efforts that touched so many, for now and for the future."

To learn more about Faustino Aizkorbe, you can visit his personal website (in Spanish, but mostly images) at

More of Aizkorbe's Artwork from Purdue and Elsewhere
Aizkorbe with a sculpture Sculpture - St. John's Torso Painting - Interpretation of a Romantic Column Painting - Interpretation of a Romantic Portal #1 Painting - Interpretation of a Romantic Portal #2 Painting - Interpretation of a Romantic Portal #3