Jon Mikel Euba. K.Y.D. Kill´em all

From: Thursday, 12 December 2002

To: Tuesday, 02 September 2003

Place: Upper East Gallery

K.Y.D. Kill´em all is the title of the exhibition that this artist born in Bilbao presents in ARTIUM-Álava. The display shows both, a group of photographs called Gora and Buruz Bera, and two video-installations created in 2002, Amobil and K.Y.D. Kill´em all.

K.Y.D. Kill´em all is the title of the exhibition that this artist born in Bilbao presents in ARTIUM-Álava. The display shows both, a group of photographs called Gora and Buruz Bera, and two video-installations created in 2002, Amobil and K.Y.D. Kill´em all.

Jon Mikel Euba (Amorebieta, 1967) belongs to a generation of artists committed to their own surrounding, and whose work is deeply connected to the political, social and cultural situation of the Basque Country. Known by his huge murals, his most recent artpieces are technically characterised by the use of new technologies applied to digitally manipulated photographs and videos.

Jon Mikel Euba´s videos are full of references to film directors such as Renoir, Warhol and Passolini. Although Euba does not think of himself as a cinema lover, there is no doubt that this seventh art is indispensable in his work since he draws part of his working material from cinematographic art. Situations and sequences of concrete action in which something seams to have happened or is about to happen, is a recurrent aspect in Euba´s videos. Basic and unadorned images create a mysterious, disturbing and ambiguous atmosphere, which sometimes becomes oppressive. In those scenarios full of suspense, the artist often adds some perturbing elements such as masked men or lying bodies that could either be asleep or dead. Such elements, although placed out of context, could subtly refer to the terrorist violence in the Basque Country.

Amobil, one of the two video-installations displayed in ARTIUM, brings together shots taken from the inside of a car with outside action and movement. Amobil, wich is the abbreviation of two words: Amorebieta and Bilbao, is shown fragmented in two images: one of them shows the inside of a car from the driver's angle, and the other does the same from the co-pilot side. The action focuses mainly on the full speed journey of a car going from Amorebieta to Bilbao. The painted writings on the car windows prevent us from seeing the outside, thus making uncertain the car's final destination. The fragmented scene, as well as the claustrophobic narrow inside, and the sudden and accelerated movement of the car, are elements that help create an oppressive and frantic atmosphere which takes us think about the mad escape of clandestine characters having just committed a crime.

The video-installation K.Y.D. Kill´em all presents three videos which have a complex connection between one and other, while remaining independent from each other. The initials K.Y.D., which give name to Euba´s work, are taken from the quotation in William Faulkner´s work “Kill your Darlings”. This quotation was used by the Swede film director Ingmar Bergman to explain the need to forget about previous works when creating a new project. In this case, Euba uses this quotation in order to explain he is getting reed of technical solutions and resources which he used in privious art productions. In this context, cinema references are very clear: The River by Jean Renoir, The Trouble with Harry by Alfred Hitchcock and Harlot by Andy Warhol.

The first video K.Y.D. NAPPING, is a world puzzle combining the words kid's nap and kidnapping. It displays a nearly ecstatic situation in which the physical intervention of protagonists is almost non-existent. It simply shows a group of young people inside a car, that could either be asleep or dead. In the scene we can only see how someone circles around the car. His presence is emphasised by the movements of a cat sitting on the lap of one of the steel persons. The eyewitness is expectant towards what has already happened or is about to happen.

In the second video, K.Y.D., the situation changes. Two anonymous characters whose faces are never shown, introduce the action when getting the bodies out of the car and placing them around it. Unease increases when the faceless persons start searching the pockets of the supposedly dead bodies.

The third and last video, KONTUZ KYD, is similar to the first one, but this time, the action takes place at nighttime. The context, and therefore, the perception of the work changes since darkness creates a completely different atmosphere. Someone sheds light on the lying bodies with a bright light gadget. This creates a highly dramatic contrast that reminds us of Tenebrist compositions by Caravaggio and Zurbarán, or even to those dead elements which can be found in Baroque art. Nevertheless, Jon Mikel Euba did not taken into account those artistic references when crating those effects. The contrast emerged as an unintended after effect.

Finally, two photographic art pieces, Gora with three photographs and Buruz Bera with four, express the artist's interest in the analysis and use of images and words out of their usual contexts.

Jon Mikel Euba has been one of the artists chosen to participate in Manifesta 4, in Frankfurt. He has recently been granted the Gure Artea 2002 Award for his art piece K.Y.D., and the French Award Altadis of Plastic Art. Thus his work has become a part of the collection Actes Sud.

Euba's work can be found in the collections of the Ministry of Culture, the Youth Institute of Madrid, the Basque Government, the Diputación Foral of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, the University of Salamanca and the Central Hispanoamericano Bank among others.

The exhibition has been co-produced by ARTIUM Álava and Fundació Antoni Tapies in Barcelona.

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