Friday, 29 October 2021 10:30

Artium Museum presents the exhibition 'A Magnificent Exploitation', by Txaro Arrazola

Artium Museum presents the exhibition 'A Magnificent Exploitation', by Txaro Arrazola Image: 'Bushwick'. Txaro Arrazola 1995

The exhibition brings together a wide selection of paintings from her Social Landscapes series, which the artist began in the 1990s. Txaro Arrazola creates disturbing contemporary landscapes that show the devastating effects of human action on the planet and its people

Artium Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country presents the exhibition Txaro Arrazola. A Magnificent Exploitation (A1 Gallery, until 13 March 2022). The exhibition brings together a wide selection of paintings from her Social Landscapes series, which the artist has been developing since the 1990s and in which she paints scenes that represent the devastating effects of direct or indirect human action on the planet and its people. A Magnificent Exploitation, curated by Xabier Arakistain, also presents other pieces from this early period, including drawings, photographs and patchworks made from clothes acquired in Salvation Army shops. Artium Museum has also published a book with essays by Arakistain and Rocío de la Villa to accompany this exhibition.

It is indeed paradoxical that ‘explotar’ means three things in Spanish: “to extract from the earth its wealth”, “to exploit the work or qualities of another person for one’s own benefit” and “to blow up, to make an explosion”. The title of this exhibition uses these three meanings of the verb to suggest connections between them from which to approach the idea of contemporary landscape in the work of Txaro Arrazola (Vitoria-Gasteiz 1963).

Una magnífica explotación (A Magnificent Exploitation) brings together a wide selection of paintings from her series Paisajes sociales (Social Landscapes), which Txaro Arrazola has been producing since 1993, when she completed her first drawings of the landscape views that could be seen from the large window of her studio in an old factory in the then dilapidated neighbourhood of Bushwick, New York. Her drawings from life were subsequently replaced as a reference for her paintings by images that she took from newspapers and magazines. Extracting images and journalistic photographs from the news briefs conferred by their medium and transcending the everyday nature of the daily press to convert these into artistic artefacts extends their temporality and, above all, exponentially expands their functionality.

Arrazola would use this displacement to create disturbing contemporary landscapes from various parts of the world that display all manner of destruction caused by direct or indirect human action. Landscapes portraying situations of extreme poverty, favelas, war refugee camps or those of migrants for climatic or economic reasons. These sombre or directly dark paintings have very few colours and they depict an unhappy world in which people never appear.

In keeping with the idea of proximity so as not to disrupt the impression that the works extend beyond the limits of the canvas, the paintings are not framed. Nor are they framed in the past. Unfortunately today, just as 30 years ago, the works remain strictly topical. Txaro Arrazola’s social landscapes are still an all too familiar everyday scene.

Txaro Arrazola
Txaro Arrazola graduated in Fine Arts from UPV/EHU in 1988. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship (1996-1997) and MFA from the State University of New York, Purchase College (1996-1998) and has a PhD in Fine Arts (2012). Her work is characterised by social engagement, feminist critique of representation and research into collaborative methodologies.

She combines her individual artistic practice of painting with transdisciplinary projects and group projects, including actions produced with the Plataforma A collective in public spaces. Her work has been exhibited at Galería Vanguardia (Bilbao, 2019, 2014, 2014, 2011, 2007); Fundación Pedro Modesto Campos (Tenerife 2007); Centro Cultural Montehermoso (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2008, 2005), and Kunstarkaden Der Stadt (Munich 2008), among other spaces and institutions.

List of works  Image request  Exhibition 

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