ARTIUM presents the exhibition Plágaro
May 17, 2012
Alfredo Álvarez Plágaro takes advantage of the layout of the gallery to trap the spectator visually with the repetition of modules and the use of different formats.
Inauguration: Friday, May 18, 8 PM
North Gallery, from May 19 two September 2, 2012
Catalogue with texts by Miguel Fernández-Cid and Erich Franz
Exhibition produced by ARTIUM (Vitoria-Gasteiz)
With the sponsorship of Tubacex, Coca Cola and the Provincial Council of Alava
Friday 18 (International Museum Day), Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 May (inaugural weekend), entry with the “You decide” tariff
More information www.plagaro.net Press release (pdf)
ARTIUM, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art presents the exhibition Plágaro, by Alfredo Álvarez Plágaro (North Gallery, from May 18 to September 2, 2012). This Alava-born artist presents recent works belonging to his series of identical pictures; the repetition of the same "manually mechanised" pictorial motif is taken on this occasion to the point of hyperbole. Plágaro plays with the spatial layout of the gallery in order to try to trap the spectator visually with the repetition of modules, the use of different formats and the colonisation of unusual surfaces such as ceilings and curved walls. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with texts by Miguel Fernández-Cid and Erich Franz. Plágaro is produced by ARTIUM (Vitoria-Gasteiz), with the sponsorship of Tubacex, Coca Cola and the Provincial Council of Alava.
Alfredo Álvarez Plágaro (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1960) studied fine arts at the University of the Basque Country and from the beginning explored figurative painting in order, as of the 1980s, to concentrate on pictorial abstraction. At the end of that decade, he began to paint his so-called "identical pictures", a line of work and research that has continued to the present day. In 1987, he did his first one-man show at ARCO and became part of the prestigious German gallery m. Bochum. Since then he has done exhibitions both in Spain and abroad.
The Identical Pictures that the artist presents at Artium are deployed in four different spaces. The first of these consists of a series of 150 pieces made in acrylic on a canvas measuring more than 2 m in length by only 5 cm in width, each one being placed along one of the walls and extending over the ceiling of the gallery. In the second of these spaces, 14 modules made with the same technique and with similar dimensions run along the outside wall and continue along the adjoining wall. Warm colours in the first case, a cold range of colours in the second, the important thing in the end is the repetition of identical, but non-cloned, paintings as well as the liberty of the artist when establishing their arrangement in the gallery and creating links between the series and the architecture.
Alfredo Álvarez Plágaro uses architecture and the alternation of vacuum and density to trap the spectator visually, provoking in him a certain amount of astonishment when confronted by these groups of repeated pictures, which are monumental in their overall effect; unique, not unique, identical and different. Within the gallery, the artist creates a U-shaped room, narrower at the top than at the bottom, the contents of which are not visible until one goes in. Once more, 150 identical pictures, arranged vertically, cover the interior of the U and the visitor must turn on the spot in order to appreciate the entire assembly.
The last of these spaces contains a series made in Vitoria-Gasteiz for this exhibition. Unlike the previous ones, in this case, the artist paints in oil directly on aluminium supports, but the repetition continues. As Plágaro himself indicates, “a curious aspect of the series is that, as they are repeated, they oblige one to take another look at what one has just seen. (…) One's eyes go from one (picture) to another and vice versa. As if it were a game, the spectator can look for the inevitable difference in the sameness".
However, through the artist's use of repetition, the paintings of Alfredo Álvarez Plágaro, are full of irony and humour. By giving more importance to the repetition than the painting itself, it questions the sanctification of painting. On the other hand, by breaking with the classical mode of pictorial creation, using unusual formats and arranging the paintings with total liberty, he gets away from the rigidity of traditional composition and breaks with the conventional concept of the painting.
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