Sala Rekalde

Alain Urrutia

29 May - 01 Jul 2012

29 May - 1 July 2012

Alain Urrutia (Bilbao, 1981) presents the exhibition AKTIONISMUS within the programme barriek that shows the work made by the selected artists for the Art Creation Grants of the Regional Council of Bizkaia in 2010.

It is not the pictorial technique as such which concerns Alain Urrutia, but rather the need to investigate through the image. One of the characteristic features of his work is the use, in the majority of cases, of large formats and restricted colour ranges (greys, blacks and whites) that result in a composition based on the figurative representation. The images that make up his paintings are everyday items and scenes taken from his own experience or his immediate surroundings –newspapers, television, etc– referring to a decoded collective memory, but without being nostalgic that, in turn, appear as sequences taken from a feature film. A metaphor on the representation itself. Stories that crisscross and form a series of fragmented scenes, each inseparable yet independent from the others; when all said and done, his large pictorial installations are assumed as an uninterrupted series of images.

Scenes that seem to be blurred, veiled -through a swept bush stroke– as if the artist is referring to those memories that become hazy with the passing of time. The evocative beauty that lies in these canvases is due to the fragmentary nature that brings to mind the artistic approach used by the Belgian artist Luc Tuymans: close-ups, isolated frames, choppy scenes and references to the world of films, television and photography.

Using this figuration, the artist shows that representation can only be partial and subjective once its meaning has been reconstructed. The hazy images and the overlapping of paint are disguising the motifs represented, hindering the partial vision, to generate a disturbing and mysterious violence.

In his zeal to blur the images, it seems that he cares less about what is represented than how it is represented, contrasting the supposed slowness of the pictorial technique with the immediacy of photography and the repetition of the photocopy. And it is precisely in Aktionismus where he stresses the idea of the photographic image, that far from being seen as a mere reproduction of the leading actions-performances of the 1970s, is again used in this series of inks on papers to highlight the aesthetical representation of that photographic material as a testimony to memory. All of them contain something of melancholy and unreality, that, supposedly, everyday experience is transmitted in that sort of blur. And it is not about trying to pursue an aesthetics of classic beauty in the result, which recall the painting of Marcel van Eeden, but rather to construct an atmosphere of reverie in the very conception of the images.

For this artist, the fragmented scenes do not cease to be emotional shifts, breakages of someone who has become an observer of his own everyday life contaminated by many stimuli. Alain also plays with the idea of the snapshot that we could relate with the image within the image, when he shows, in some of his works, a collection that seem to be like photographs piled up like segmented narrations.
The painting of Alain Urrutia is more an idea than a technique as he does not only use painting in terms of implicit operating processes or using the notions inherited from history of art, or even, based on current market trends, but rather his works involves a complex process which these blurred images undergo, burdened by infinite and unfinished stories, reinventing a reality, a different one.

Tania Pardo


Alain Urrutia (Bilbao, 1981) lives and works in Bilbao. He has exhibited at international fairs such as ARCO Madrid, ArteLisboa and Art Beijing in recent years. Despite his short career, his work has been shown in many collective exhibitions: including Entornos próximos at Artium (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2008), Artes Visuales- Injuve Exhibition at the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Madrid, 2009), Lingua franca (Huelva Museum, 2009), Antes que todo at CA2M (Madrid, 2010), Oscuro y salvaje at La Casa Encendida (Madrid,2010), Todo disfraz at the Espacio de Arte OTR (Madrid,2010), Melodías Prohibidas at the Festival S.O.S 4.8. (Murcia, 2011) or Enchanted Mountain at the Mario Sequeira Gallery (Braga, 2011) where he exhibited alongside Alex Katz, Julian Opie, Axel Hütte and Franz West. In 2008, he was awarded the Bilbao Arte Foundation residential fellowship and his work is in private and public collections, including at the Barrié de la Maza Fundation and the Enrique Ordóñez Collection.

Tags: Marcel van Eeden, Axel Hütte, Alex Katz, Julian Opie, Luc Tuymans, Franz West