Chillida's achievement lies in his development of a sculptural idiom which is readily comprehensible and yet highly abstract and can formulate thematically specific statements. Though it remains autonomous, it can be charged with symbolism. It succeeds in concentrating within itself the spatial context. It is the location with its creative and historical implications that helps define the importance of a sculpture. This is something the artist has proven not least of all with his monuments in public locations; one can refer in this context to his many stele forms which he employed as memorials to people "Homenaje a Rodriguez Sahagun", 1993; "Homenaje a Ruiz Rafael Balerdi", 1992), landmarks (project for Neuss, 1994), or monuments (Zuhaitz, 1991, monument against racism).4
Chillida's sculptures and monuments never refer to specific historical events (even though this has often been claimed), but always to "fundamental human principles". They employ a more general creative idiom to do this, an idiom demonstrating a strong propensity for interpretational integration. For instance, the three elements of the Stommeln sculpture have been interpreted as representatives of the three major world religions, which go back to Abraham.
Chillida’s artistic idiom is understood across national and cultural boundaries because it is human in the broadest sense of the word. In recent years, he has increasingly incorporated human gestures into his abstract creative vocabulary: such as the embrace, intertwined forms, union, and approaching. The clearly tangible motif in his work for the synagogue in Stommeln is that of cautiously approaching something. The sculpture in Stommeln does not aspire to be a monument.