Four Basque artists who triumph at ARCO

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


ARCO, Spain´s foremost contemporary art fair, concluded with a significant presence of Basque artists. Sahatsa Jauregi, June Crespo, Itziar Okariz, Ixone Sabada, Kepa Garraza, Jorge Oteiza, Ángel Bados, Elena Aitzkoa, Manu Muniategiandikoetxea, Gala Knorr, Itziar Barrio, Esther Ferrer and Nora Aurrekoetxea are some of the names that illuminated the pavilions of IFEMA Madrid.

This time we shine a spotlight on four of them: Sahatsa Jauregi, Nora Aurrekoetxea, Mari Puri Herrero and Ana Laura Aláez. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, one of the world´s premier contemporary art museums, has acquired four pieces by these artists.

These are the pieces that now form part of the museum´s collection:

‘París HLM’ (Mari Puri Herrero, 1972)

‘Paris HLM´ is a pictorial work painted in 1972, after Mari Puri Herrero (Bilbao, 1942) spent time in Paris. The title refers to the projects known as HLM (Habitations à Loyer Modéré, or low-income housing). The most significant surge in the construction of HLM occurred during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the artist was residing in the French capital.

Herrero has worked and researched in different artistic fields, standing out as a masterful painter with a loose brushstroke of impressionist roots and an engraver, using a variety of techniques (etching, linoleum, woodcut...).

‘Culito’ (Ana Laura Aláez, 1996).

This small iron sculpture in which violence and vulnerability are expressed in the contrast of iron and cork.

From the beginning, Aláez has been has been pushing conceptual boundaries while integrating new materials and an array of technologies. In her sculpture, she stands out for her use of coloured plastics, sophisticated metals, a variety of mounting techniques, and for a formal approach in which the most disparate elements are concatenated to create galactic structures.  Her work delves into the intricate relationship between the female body and mainstream culture, probing the political dimensions of subjectivity inherent in the objects and habits that envelop it.

‘Izarrak’ (Sahatsa Jauregui, 2023)

This piece is part of a series that features various assemblages of objects, some sourced from found materials while others are crafted by the artist. Held together by tensional forces, these works bring together silhouettes of body parts constructed from sheet metal, stretched or supported by textile elements.

Sahatsa Jauregi lives and works in Bilbao. She is currently a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and was a member of Okela, an independent space for contemporary art in Bilbao, from 2017-2022.

She has held solo exhibitions and participated in group shows at various venues including The Ryder (Madrid, 2022), Aparador Monteleón (Madrid, 2022), Galería The Goma (Madrid, 2022), Azkuna Zentroa (Bilbao), Artiatx (Bilbao, 2021), Tabakalera (Donostia San-Sebastián, 2021), Fran Reus Gallery (Palma de Mallorca, 2021), Palacio Horcasitas (Balmaseda, 2021), Halfhouse (Barcelona, 2019), Swamp Horses (Espinavessa, 2019) and Carreras Múgica (Bilbao, 2016).

‘Kurba (ballena beso baile)’ (Nora Aurrekoetxea, 2023)

This work serves as an exploration where emotions such as violence, love, and fear converge, translated into volumes and spatial interactions. Aurrekoetxea invites the spectator to reflect on the relationship between body and verbal language in the context of the everyday and the intimate.

Her practice revolves around the exploration of a sculptural approach to constructing installations, wherein architecture, text, performance, video, and objects share the same space and time.

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