Yancey Richardson is pleased to present STUDIO, the second solo exhibition at the gallery by Basque artist Pello Irazu. Combining aspects of conceptualism, minimalism and constructivism, Irazu’s practice utilizes objects and images drawn from his studio to explore the tensions between two dimensions and three, between surface and image, and between photographic representation, painting and sculpture. As the artist describes, "I like the in-between area between disciplines, the fluid dialogue between my studio space, the sculptures, the photographs and the installation."
The exhibition features a selection of serialized photographs depicting constructed objects from the artist’s studio, each of which have been uniquely painted on in a tromp l’oeil style and re-photographed to create new forms. Additionally, a group of spare, constructivist sculptures complement and mimic the painted photographs, addressing the relationship between representation, materiality, and ornamentation. The gallery walls are also treated as a canvas by the artist, creating a material context and bridge between the photographic and sculptural elements.
Known predominately for his sculpture and wall drawings, Irazu has begun using photography in dialogue with these media, relating photography’s ability to reproduce reality to the idea of casting familiar objects. In both mediums, Irazu’s treatment is to undermine the reliability of surface vis-à-vis deconstruction of material authenticity. Commonplace studio items such as cardboard boxes and wood blocks are typically cast and painted, and then reassembled as discreet sculptural objects on the floor and wall. A pared down, lyric economy of line characterizes these quietly elegant abstractions of simple geometry. The painted surfaces often conflate material representation: a piece of cast aluminum in the shape of a wood block, painted in acrylic to resemble a natural wood grain, for example. The sculptural forms often reappear in the photographs, obscured by the artist’s painting on the surface of the prints. Clean-edged bands of paint appear to be pieces of paper or tape collaged to the surface of the prints while simultaneously reading as physical objects in the image, such as a plank of actual wood attached to a sculpted chair or a wall in the studio.
Born in 1963 in Andoain, Spain, Pello Irazu currently lives and works in Bilbao, Spain. He has exhibited internationally including at the Venice Biennale, the Reina Sofia and the Guggenheim Museum. In 2013, Irazu’s room sized installation – Life Forms 304 – featured in the exhibition Inhabited Architecture at the Guggenheim Bilbao with Liam Gillick, Doris Salcedo, Mona Hatoum, and Cristina Iglesias. Irazu's work is held in the collections of major institutions including The Guggenheim, Bilbao, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, The Reina Sofia, Madrid, the Yves Klein Foundation, Arizona and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. A recipient of many European awards, Irazu received the Icaro Prize for the best young Spanish artist, and a Fulbright Grant to live and work in New York.