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Raúl Illarramendi

Galerie Karsten Greve Paris

Incarner la Poussière
September 5 - October 7, 2015
Opening: Saturday, September 5, 2015, 6 - 8 pm
in presence of the artist
First of all I have been interested in the pictorial nature of these marks, a presence that I always find while walking around. Then it’s the intention I am interested in. I am attracted to the relationship between the first surface, this unctuous pure plaster that reflects the first gesture and the new space, drawn in the studio, as my own action. [Raúl Illarramendi]
"At first sight the canvases by Raúl Illarramendi imitate the spattering of daily life: they present themselves as dusty surfaces imprinted with finger marks, remnants of paint, signs of something that has occurred, vestiges of time passing. (…) Nostalgia gives way to astonishment when closer examination reveals the technique employed: the painted surface is entirely covered with coloured pencil, whereby the “lines” are precisely those areas of the canvas that have been left bare. Illarramendi’s skill seduces and tricks the eye." [Sébastien Gokalp]
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris is pleased to present its third first personal exhibition devoted to Raúl Illarramendi. The starting point for Raúl Illarramendi’s work is the observation of traces left by the human patina in the everyday urban milieu. Found on walls, sidewalks, gateways and doorways, these traces are photographed and chosen for their composition and evocative power. The artist thus accumulates a repertory of images that serve as inspiration for his compositions. These signs multiply and proliferate daily, and are endlessly superimposed; however, their ubiquity along with an unconscious collective desire to forget them, make them invisible. At the same time, Raúl Illarramendi’s work comes within the scope of abstract and figurative research. The artist sustains an ambiguous relationship with painting, where the status of drawing is constantly questioned.
These works have been realized with coloured pencil applied on a canvas that has previously been prepared with gouache, a mixed technique combining drawing with painting and vice versa. The artist conceives these works as non-drawings: the work is composed of lines that suddenly appear in the un-pencilled spaces, thus revealing the foundation of the canvas. This procedure in negative reveals the spots through their outlines, thus creating an inclusion of the painting into the drawing.
The show presents works from different series: Terra Incognita, the most recent one conceived between 2014 and 2015, resumes anonymous mappings accumulated by the artist progressively with his findings. Evidence of Absence, the most prolific, is evoked here by two pieces, Palimpseste as well as a large format, Muro (Wall), which translate a highly loaded gesture. As for Salto, composed of three vertical works of monumental dimension from the series Spit Drawings, the artist plays with the notions of falling and gravity, distilling a vertical energy. The latter reveals part of its sources using a video sequence. This change of medium shows us in a quasi-documentary manner some of the samples he picks outside his studio, the raw material of his œuvre. In this new production Raúl Illarramendi is faithful to the subjects, their shape, their composition as well as the colour pallet, always in a pictorial research generated and nourished by drawing.
[Embodying Dust, extract from the article written by Sébastien Gokalp in April 2015.]
Born in 1982 in Caracas, Venezuela, Raúl Illarramendi began his artistic training in 1998 as assistant to the painter Felix Pedromo. He then became a member of the Circulo de Dibujo of the Contemporary Art Museum of Caracas Sofia Imber. He graduated in Visual Arts and Art History from the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville in the United States, and the Jean Monnet University of Saint-Etienne. He has won several art awards in the United States and France, the most recent of which being the Jean Chevalier Award for Painting in Lyon, which he received in 2012. He lives and works in Méru, France.

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