Original title: Tisbe
Steel with synthetic paint
Dimensions: 97 x 76 x 114 cm
Reference: ACF0479
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The long list of twentieth-century artists to whom Pello Irazu has been compared in one way or another by commentators—including Anthony Caro, Blinky Palermo, Richard Serra, David Shapiro, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Richard Artschwager, Dan Flavin, Haim Steinbach, Félix González Torres, David Hammons and Lothar Baumgarten, to name but a few—highlights the difficulty of classifying his output. A few years ago the artist himself identified Joseph Beuys, the English sculptors of the 1970s (the New Generation), and Enzo Cucchi as influences. His work can also be viewed in relation to Constructivism and Suprematism, provided that one bears in the mind an observation made by one of his best critics, Kevin Power, who, in a discussion on Irazu, Bados, Moraza and Badiola, pointed out that rather than bringing continuity and permissible amendments to the principles of modernism, what they do is ‘focus attention on its limitations’. In other words, their attitude entails a critical analysis of avant-garde postulates rather than blind faith in their value. Tisbe was one of the pieces shown at an exhibition he took part in with Txomin Badiola (who presented his ‘Twin’ series) at the Riverside Studios in London after the two artists had been living in the city for a year. The piece is a magnificent example of the work of his early maturity. The apparent formalism of the work—its structure, the geometry of its hollows and edges—are features that would set it within the framework of Constructivism or a reinterpretation of the least minimalist aspects of Minimalism. However, the dislocation of the planes produces an inner tension that undermines the Constructivist principles of rationality, while a certain affective confidentiality, grounded essentially in the colour, distances it from the industrial coldness of Minimalism. ‘The object may be simple,’ Irazu said in an interview, ‘but that formal simplicity is the product of a synthesis, an operation of minimums, and its aim is to convey a conceptual complexity, which is what makes the object interesting.’ The use Irazu makes of colour during this period is a defining feature of his artistic character. As he puts it, ‘colour is a need of the sculpture, not of the subject. The object leads you down unanticipated paths, since it is not a strict representation of anything, but the possibility of a desire. I want the colour to broaden the formal relationship that exists between the two main elements. I need it to let me pass through the wall that separates them—to work within the piece.’

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