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"Pello Irazu: Fragments and Sleepers"
2003-11-17 until 2004-02-22
Artium - Basque Museum of Contemporary Art
Vitoria-Gasteiz, , ES Spain

ARTIUM, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art, presents the exhibition Pello Irazu. Fragmentos y Durmientes (Fragments and Sleepers), in which this Gipuzkoa-based artist exhibits his most recent work. Created specifically for this Museum, Fragmentos y Durmientes consists of several series of drawings (paint and adhesive tape on paper), two large murals painted directly on the walls of the gallery and two sculptures, one of them of large proportion. In this exhibition, Irazu delves into a line of work which revolves around the relationship of the individual with architectural spaces and day-to-day objects.

Pello Irazu is considered to be one of the key figures in the renovation which began in Basque and Spanish sculpture in the eighties, evolving from the proposals of Jorge Oteiza to very personal solutions with a greater social content. In addition to his exhibition at ARTIUM, his work is also present in other collections such as MNCARS, MACBA, the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego, or the Ives Klein Foundation in Arizona.

In Fragmentos y Durmientes (Fragments and Sleepers), Pello Irazu presents his most recent production with two sculptures, Erizo and Durmiente, which are formally and conceptually different, and two large murals. Irazu has conceived the exhibition "from a comprehension of architecture", conceiving space as something more than "a mere container to hang things", in order to "mediate between the gallery and the spectator".

The visitor entrance to the exhibition is dominated by two large murals, which are the instrument Irazu uses, precisely, to mediate between the spectator and the gallery. In this first part of the exhibition, Pello Irazu has placed the smallest sculpture, Durmiente, a work whose apparent solidity and unity contrasts with the material with which it is made: painted cardboard, the different parts of which are joined with an iron structure. The second sculpture, Erizo, a large, visually-open piece that shows constructivist tendencies, is placed at the end of the gallery, not visible from the entrance. Irazu constructs with wood, iron and adhesive tape (also with the presence of paint) a structure, a sum of shapes whose movement seems to be frozen. In reality, both sculptures delimit the territory in which Pello Irazu is developing his work today: unity and solidity, on the one hand, and the disintegration of the whole in fragments which are consolidated in a different way.

With regard to his drawings, Pello Irazu presents several recent series (Fragmentos, Erase, Durmientes) whose origins can be traced to several iconographies, images from classical art, newspapers and comics. While the series Durmientes contains clearly figurative drawings, mostly faces with painful expressions, Fragmentos is of a more graphic and constructive nature. With his drawings, Irazu presents lines of investigation which run parallel to his sculptures.. Lastly, the two large murals that face each other on opposite sides of the Lower East Gallery, strike up a dialogue between the exhibition and the Museum whose architecture, beyond being a mere container, becomes a support. Irazu culminates the work developed for this exhibition with both murals, that echo and amplify the group of works on exhibition.


Pello Irazu (Andoain, 1963), who has two pieces in the ARTIUM collection, (Sin título, 1983 and Hablando claro, 1992), is considered to be one of the key figures in the renovation experienced by Basque and Spanish sculpture since the eighties, together with names such as Txomin Badiola and Ángel Bados. In a career spanning more than 20 years, Irazu has organised a large number of exhibitions in Spain, Europe and America. His art is the result of a profound reflection and investigation of the relationship between the individual and architecture, domestic spaces and day-to-day objects, and in developing his artistic style, has been influenced by constructivism, minimalism, conceptual art and pop.

Pello Irazu chooses iron, steel, wood, formica and cardboard, among others, as supports for his sculptures, to which we must add colour, which, apparently, is only an accessory element, but has a determining influence on form and possesses great strength. This versatility is not limited only to the materials but also has an effect on the technique, as shown by his powerful collection of drawings, which, defended as "wall sculptures" or "spatial screens", are used to investigate the same aesthetic questions as three-dimensional pieces.

Pello Irazu
Doble, 2003

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