Santos Iñurrieta. Hope U Have a Good Time

From: Friday, 15 September 2017

To: Sunday, 07 January 2018

Things happen. Santos Iñurrieta seems to contemplate these things, collects them and includes them in his life through the filter of a canvas surface.

Curator: Daniel Castillejo

Hundreds of canvases have accumulated in an orderly manner against the walls of Santos Iñurrieta’s studio. Apart from those privileged works that can be seen at the front, the others are stacked against each other, back to back and separated by sheets of polyethylene foam or cardboard from the painted surfaces of the adjacent frames. The preliminary work for the project took two days and it has been marked since then by the sensations at that time, the pungent odour of oil paint, the clarity of light and the mid-August heat on the island of Mallorca. Preliminary work aimed at meeting and greeting the spaces and figures in his paintings, and sharing the memory and considerations of a life in painting that have taken shape in this project after a year’s work.

The exhibition presents us with 60 large-format paintings and a series of 16 drawings, gouaches measuring 70 x 100 cm, all of which have been produced in recent years. Santos has used them to create an accurate picture of his creative universe.

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It is difficult to point out any featured figure among the beings that inhabit these large canvases. In his painting work, a composition of perfectly assembled scenes disperses attention because of its enormous amount of elements, which are becoming increasingly more numerous as his paintings progress over time. Gilles Deleuze and Felíx Guattari made use of the term rhizome when discussing this type of structure, a model for organising elements without suggesting hierarchies, in which any one of these can affect or impact any other. Just as a crowd happens to meet in a public square, filled with objects, bags, the sound of laughter, horns and the voices of people selling desires, Santos Iñurrieta documents in a single sequence, shot in a single take and without cuts, a long chain of thoughts from his mind containing references to paintings that he loves, history and the sofa he just left behind.

Things happen. Santos Iñurrieta seems to contemplate these things, collects them and includes them in his life through the filter of a canvas surface. Internal and external landscapes coexist in the space of the painting together with figures that are thoughtfully relaxing, participating in a daily activity, eating, working or observing a new painting. They perform balancing acts on a horse’s rump while an elephant’s head appears triggered by a spring... These are thought images containing a strong surreal component, but they act cleverly to position you not in the representational space, but rather in a mental space in which everything is possible and plausible.

References to art history, especially modern painting and artists such as Dalí, Picasso, Hopper or Saint Phalle, to name just but a few, share complicity and space with figures from mass culture, comics or tarot. Their presence –that of the “guests who have entered into the painting without warning and have settled into one of its corners”, which Francisco Javier San Martín alludes to in the catalogue essay– undoubtedly indicates a broad knowledge of the history of art and the medium and contrasts with a lack of loyalty to any school or form of representation linked to the market, a feature that has always characterised his work.

All these works, like the exhibition itself, have been presented under the same title, Hope U Have a Good Time, a certain absurd touch that displays the meaning (or non-meaning) of what they represent and the total lack of (or total) transcendence of what they tell us, while at the same time providing them with a roguish poetic accent, another paradigmatic element of Iñurrieta’s work. The artist’s paintings suggest the vicissitudes of everyday reality-unreality, in which banality and transcendence, moderation and paranoia coexist at an equidistant position to good sense, relativizing transcendence, our values and the hierarchies of reality. These are paintings without a moral or narrative, presenting situations that seduce and invite us to speculate.

The exhibition is underpinned by two of his early works that belong to the Artium Collection. A bastard disciple of the Orain group in Vitoria-Gasteiz, where he developed his painting work, Iñurrieta participated in reviving the languages of painting and abstraction, as well as in the complex relationship between the role of art and artists in social and cultural reality. Captivated as he was by pictorial experimentation, abstraction and figuration passed through his work and were combined to become later an expressive, kitsch, multiple and irreverent figurativeness that has shaped his current language.

The pleasure of painting is translated into his exquisite technique, in a range of seemingly infinite colours applied both accurately and light-heartedly, paradoxically displaying immense depth in each colour plane. A pleasure that is transmitted to anyone who contemplates his work.

Do yourself a favour and enjoy.

Exhibition brochure  Invitation

Opening programme Press release

Santos Iñurrieta. Ke usted lo pase bien (reduced version) from Artium on Vimeo.

See complete version of the video 

 

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