Various interrelated ideas on the work of Alain Urrutia after a visit to his studio:


Making painting walk


On the road of painting from a model of archetypal apprehension to its current form, made up of multiple dissident positions, it is necessary to avoid establishing pure genealogies. The practice of Alain Urrutia would be situated at one end of a certain discontinuous line of transmission of experiences, which would apparently be based on the programmatic staging of the ‘end of painting’ by Richter but which would actually be situated close to the painting of Luc Tuymans as a repository of memory. It would also be mediated by larger universes, such as the films by Tarkovski and the literature of Alessandro Baricco.


Alain’s painting is the result of a process-related conception of the painting itself, as if on a continuous road of learning. The starting point of his particular route began with the series titled “Stalker” (September 2007), in an open reference to the film by Tarkovski, which responded to the need for establishing a specific pictorial methodology based on imagining everyday images, the recourse to techniques such as reframing and out-of-focus, and a limited colour palette (mainly black-and-white and greys).


Generic image

Tarkovski said that it is impossible to capture the moment when something positive becomes the opposite, when negativity penetrates into positivity. Alain’s painting has some of this about it. One feels a worrying (and pleasing) awkwardness before the transformation of something that can be recognised into something strange in his painting. In many of his paintings based on his own everyday photographs or photographs taken from the family album, such as “Matiné I” or “Matiné II”, both from 2008, the familiar gives way to strangeness and the particular gives ways to the generic.


His recourse to photography must be understood not as an exercise of translating the mechanical/digital image into painting, but as a mere tool for building the pictorial image. In addition, the use of image conventions such as out-of-focus, cutting, reframing and close-ups, etc., and the consideration of his painting as a whole, a broken, interrupted sequence of images, establishes an interesting relationship between painting and filmic image.


  Space of conflict


Alain’s painting is also violence in that each of his paintings can be understood as an act against the natural way of doing things. The progressive inclusion of colour after the work titled “Stricto Sensu” (January 2008) and the attempt to objectualize the pictorial image (as in his series for the Artium) respond to the need for attacking the auto-rule of black-and-white and to a certain attempted raising or texturization of the surface of the painting. In other works, the reference to conflict becomes literal (as in the triptych titled “Aesthetic of ludic violence” (2007) or the work in ink on paper titled “Third time” (2008)) through the aesthetic reflection on the legitimacy of violence.


The multiplicity of positions around which a pictorial image is constituted today lies in the conflicted nature of the medium and in the painting’s own capacity for dissenting and representing its unresolved contradictions. Accordingly, each of Alain’s paintings could be understood as a space from which the contradictions of the pictorial practice itself are presented and reconsidered again and again, although not necessarily in search of consensus.