Ignacio Uriarte: Diagonale Gleichung
Sperling is pleased to announce the opening of “Diagonale Gleichung” the first solo exhibition by the Spanish artist Ignacio Uriarte in Munich.
The starting point for the exhibition concept was the particular room configuration at the exhibition venue, and specifically the stairway, which, as a diagonal element, contrasts with the right angles of the classic white cube. Diagonal lines, structures and compositions are the unifying element behind the works on show, in which Uriarte examines the monotony of the world of work and the everyday routine of office work – and its artistic potential. Thematically and formally, the artist references the Concept Art and Minimal Art of the 1960s and 70s.
After studying economics, he himself worked in various offices for a number of years, before deciding to take up art fulltime. At the same time, he did not abandon his familiar surroundings, but chose to investigate them so to speak from the inside, using the materials and tools he knew, and methods and processes with which he was familiar. Sisyphus-like, Uriarte repeats everyday actions like writing, highlighting and folding, along with casual gestures like doodling, and in so doing demonstrates the creative potential of unproductive work and activity. Ignoring the efficiency mentality current in the world of business, in his conceptual compositions and experimental set-ups the artist concentrates on what would probably be described in the office as time-wasting trivia, and in so doing creates works which he himself describes as by-products of unproductivity.
Instead of breaking rules, as would be typical in art, Uriarte consciously imposes limits to his scope for action. Even before starting on a work, he defines all the steps right up to its completion, so that there is virtually no possibility of any intuitive reaction at a later stage. He does not deviate from the system as thus laid down, and once begun, the work is always finished. What has to be done is done, and in this process, the possibilities and limits of the respective materials impose further restrictions. The aesthetic quality of this standardized material only becomes visible through the repetition over many hours of monotonous processes.
As these repetitions are carried out by human hand and not by machine, the individual implementations cannot be identical. This non-precision leads to a regular irregularity, which has to do with the artist’s artistic signature and raises questions regarding the creative aspect during the production of the work. The deviations that move within a particular range as with countless run-throughs of an experiment can be seen as a typology of random events.
The process of production and in particular the tools and materials used thus become at the same time the theme and motif of the works, which raise issues of time, structure, order and monotony. This systematic and time-consuming working method, which might lead one to expect if anything unemotional works, contrasts with the amazingly sensuous and poetic results, in which Uriarte combines complexity with minimalism and precision with conceptual humour.
Ignacio Uriarte was born in Krefeld in 1972, and has already been honoured by numerous exhibition in museums at home and abroad. These include solo exhibitions at the MARCO (Vigo), at the Berlinische Galerie (Berlin) and in the Drawing Center (New York). In 2015 the Kunstmuseum Bergisch Gladbach will also be staging a solo exhibition. Uriarte is represented in numerous collections around the world, for example the Museum Ludwig (Cologne), the Lenbachhaus (Munich), JUMEX (Mexico City), FRAC Lorraine (Metz) and the collection of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn.