It is not pictorial technique in itself that concerns Alain Urrutia, but rather investigating through image. His figurative compositions often make use of large formats and limited chromatic spectra (grays, blacks and whites). With their references to the daily and scenes taken from Urrutia’s own experience or surrounding reality (newspapers, television, etc.), his images suggest a de-codified, and wholly non-nostalgic, collective memory that look like extracts from feature films. They constitute a metaphor for representation itself. Intersecting stories that form a group of fragmented scenes both intrinsically linked and independent. In the end, his major pictorial installations are understood as an uninterrupted set of images.
The scenes he depicts have been blurred and veiled with sweeping brushstrokes, as if the artist were in fact referring to memories erased with the passage of time. The evocative beauty of these canvases is due to their very fragmentedness, suggestive of the pictorial conception of the Belgium artist Luc Tuymans: close-ups, isolated frames, discontinuous scenes, that is, references to the world of film, television and photography. This is evident, for instance, in the series Stalker (2007), whose title makes reference to a film by Tarkovski.
Through this figuration, the artist shows how representation is necessarily partial and subjective once its meaning has been reconstructed. Hence, by means of erasing image and superimposing paint, he attempts to mask the motifs represented, encumbering always partial vision and implicitly generating a disturbing and mysterious violence. In his eagerness to blur images, he seems less concerned with what is represented than how it is represented, contrasting the supposed slowness of painting with the immediacy of photography and repetition in photocopies. There is something of melancholy and irreality in all of these works: in the midst of this sort of blurring, supposed daily experience is conveyed. It is no longer a question of vindicating classic beauty in the final paintings, which are reminiscent of the work of Marcel van Eeden, but rather of constructing an unreal, dreamlike atmosphere in the very conception of the images.
For this artist, fragmented frames are also emotional breaking points, the ruptures of someone who has become an observer of a daily life contaminated by countless stimuli. In works where he inserts colors other than those expected — like the painting with two large red planes or the one with a mass of people in black and white on a bluish background — these stimuli are particularly evident. When his surfaces contain what look like photographs piled up like divided narratives, Alain also plays with the notion of the filmic moment that could well be related to the image within the image.
In any case, Alain Urrutia’s painting is more an idea than a technique; he does not paint only in terms of implicit operative processes, art history and its notions, or even current tendencies in the art market; instead, his erased images laden with endless unfinished stories undergo a complex process, inventing another reality.