Alain Urrutia    
Installation Views
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Alain Urrutia, L'Internationale, 2018
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Alain Urrutia, L'Internationale, 2018
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Alain Urrutia, L'Internationale, 2018
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view
Mise en abyme, 2018, exhibition view






All the images courtesy of the artist.
Photos by Diego Diez and Alain Urrutia.
Room Text
A small feeling tells us this exhibition was propelled by a canon of misunderstandings, fuelled by ever-mounting enthusiasm that spun them past logic and into the form that is now manifest in this room.

Mise en Abyme is composed from an object-based conversation between Alain and Plat-, a game so open-ended it possessed barely one agreed-upon rule. While oscillating contributions created the constellation of objects that can now be viewed, the relations between these objects remain wholly undisclosed. Therefore, while Plat- knows the relationship between a pearl and a paint-tube, the artist does not. And while Alain knows the relationship between a font and a feather, we can solely interpret them by their pictorial cues.

Some artworks are not intended to be entirely contemplated – purposefully orchestrated to render the impossibility of an overall view. But while this conduct assumes the privileged position of knowing from the artist, here Alain dares to give that up too. Questioning assumptions of artist, audience, mediator or room, Mise en Abyme has built Plǝt- into another reality: in which the content of the painting has been curated; and where the painting has become the sculptor of the room. While life is inherently ephemeral and in movement, for the duration of Mise en Abyme life at Plǝt- will be perceptively slowed. By hosting a constellation of objects, Alain’s painting builds a pictorial image; and it is this image that the room, subsequently, is ordered to reflect. r than being restricted to the conventionally regarded frame.


Artist Biography
Alain Urrutia [Bilbao, 1981] lives and works in London, Graduated at the Basque Country University and Academia Brera Milano in 2004.

Urrutia has exhibited at international Art Musseums, including the Boston Centre for the Arts, CA2M Madrid, Artium Vitoria or Guggenheim Bilbao Museum in its 15th aniversary activities.

Urrutia is interested in the slow gaze of reality that occurs while he is painting. He works in an intuitive way. The work he has carried out to date is closely related to the idea that in photography, the reality becomes an image and it is subsequently translated into another reality when painted. In his view, the goal is not to reproduce a mechanical/digital photograph into painting, but to build a pictorial image. The paintings are striking in their ‘emotional impenetrability’, they posses and produce a kind of silence, a demonstrable lack of legibility, even a difficulty that outstrips their subject matter per se. With this notion in mind he slows the process of perception in order to allow paths towards new interpretations from pre-existing images, urging the viewer to question their assumptions of what they are looking at.


The Opening
The doorbell signals white lights to turn on, the room is cleared to sufficiently bare and the painting hums quietly in the corner. Despite white expanses of walls, the room’s composition is far from sterile: reconfigured by a last-night dream, objects are carefully carelessly placed and empty walls are left as gestural backdrops for life scenes to play in front of. The painting is installed by the head of the bed to frame sleep - catching dreams, hanging low and at the perfect height for children or lounging visitors.

Slowly, slightly awkward hospitality stirs, people trickling in spatters and globs, seeping in and out of the third floor door. Conversations build context by being spoken of, and concepts build as words flow from mouths creating thought paths that re think the order of how things went and what might follow.

A music box is installed at ear level, introducing the tune as title, announcing the work with a powerful tinkle that dampens conversation to a halt each time it is ‘read’, playing the whole room silent.

Faces appear asking where the work is and what the work was and “Yes, it’s a painting” – the bed an obstacle no one dares to traverse but three kids who dart about with bodies and eyes, exploring the exhibition with touch and movement. Unpacking the relations between the room-installed objects and painted representations, they physically move their bodies from one location in the room to the next to conduct their investigation. The rest of us stand still, sit and sip quietly, touching the work with thoughts only.

The content of the work purposefully evades meaning and the gallery lights exhibit blank walls to ensure the whole room is spotlighted– giving attention to each activity within – a self-conscious fish bowl scaring stragglers to jostle with others into groups to avoid the glare. A pile of jackets accumulate by the window, a dog runs the circumference of the room and groups of singular visitors huddle in the corner to view the carefully composed painting.

The last visitors trail out and in doing so turn off the room. And I, laying on bed, painting over shoulder, recount every detail of the event I can conjure - objects accidently flung across the room; faces seen; revolving conversations refining descriptions and interpretations; kids and artist alike investigating the painting’s surface with their fingers. The tiny painting, always far away, on the far side of the bed, encouraged speculation more than observation and now, calm and alone, I open “Essential Cubism” – installed in and under the painting – to read a short description.