Aitor Urdangarin Sculptor


Art Criticism  Aitor Urdangarin Sculptor



“…The sculpture was born in the Garden of Delights of Eden, where God shaped a little figure of clay, blew, and was born the first man: ... Adam... Since then, the sculpture has become the beauty side of the power; portraits of Emperors, Philosophers, Conquerors, and sportsmen. In classical Greece it reached its highest degree, but then it fell down like Caryatids did. In the High Middle Ages it was the votive statues of Religion. But in the Florentine Renaissance, The sculpture came to the category of “Summas Artis” and the genius of Miguel Angel made of its three-dimensionality the art of the emptiness, the space, and the maximum beauty.
At the time of the great French and English Courts, The sculpture returned to the classic style of portraiture. But with the great figure that knocked down all Europe:…Napoleon… the sculpture in the Atelier of the Empire, came to the mystery of the flesh, sensuality, and the installation (as funerary sculpture) of the hand of Mr. Canova. But it was the Century XX that gave the sculpture its right dimension, the conquest of the space… From Mr. Calder to the geometry of Mr. Gabó, came to Serra’s vortex-eclipses, and to the hands as elements for the conquest of the space of Mr. Chillida, where in the “Bella Easo” they brush the winds an the waves of the Cantabric encouraged sea…

When I first met Aitor Urdangarin´s sculpture, I saw a sculptor concerned with the space rather than the line, a researcher who studies the emptiness more than the matter, and its definition is the result of a “drawing in three dimensions” that rather than a sculpture moving in the space, looked as a picture floating in the space, which in turning created as well a floating sculpture made of “flying spirals” that created material scrawls and sketches that in their flying unification built a perfect sculpture moving in the space. In that sense I associate Mr. Urdangarin more with Chillida than with Oteiza.

But if I must be honest, I see an European sculptor (at least I can see a basque who does not look at Constructivism but the sculptural freedom that since Brancusi went on from Picasso to David Smith, form Raimondi to ceroli, from Marini to Manzú, from Gio Pomodoro to Palladino, and from MacMacollungh to Serra) That is what has caused his attentive look to me, and so I wanted to follow his path carefully. I’ve always liked the different and the anachronistic things, and the sculpture of Aitor Urdangarin is simply beautiful and different. That is why I like it. There are many reasons for his sculpture to be already art story, but I just want to mention the three principal props of his art:

1- The sculptures are made of steel, but he does not rectify it to extract brightness. If the sculptures would be shining, they would fall into the simple act of drawing, just remaining as decorative designs. But Aitor Urdangarin knows the matter is cold, even though it forms are shaped by the heat. So he lets the matter polished, but in a mate state. Implying the shade and the light, and perpetrating the texture to the sculpture, so, according to the light, that matter will seem to change its own texture, deceiving the spectator. That is called -language of the form- and the dialogue between work and viewer comes to life.

2- The really surprising thing of of Aitor Urdangarin’s sculpture is its simplicity, which always becomes more complicated for the silliest animal, even thought predominates over the apex of the pyramid, I refer to the human being. For that reason, those sculptures are simple lines that model the emptiness catching the own drawing, which is released crating a shape, and drawing an entirely free sculpture. That is what these sculptures represent, the freedom of art and geometry…

3- I believe indeed that Urdangarin’s work is the result of a lengthy investigation, apparently short, but it is a hoax at all, because is not possible to create anything different and cross-current without a long time of investigation and meditation. We certainly can not think that Urdangarin’s sculpture is a hurriedly rapid result. I think that would otherwise be the viewer who is placed in front of the sculptures in a wrong way, and certainly can not catch this wonderful dialogue that these sculptures engage with the matter sweeping silence that invades the whole piece lifting and turning it in the gravity of the being and the shape, a marvellous constant dialogue between the matter and the drawing…

When someone looks at Aitor Urdangarin’s sculptures, it becomes necessary to ask some questions to oneself… Are they sculptural drawings or are they sculptures drawing constantly the space? Are they geometric sculptures drawing forms in the space, or are they simple drawings that reclaim their own old sculpture shape? Or are they simply sculptures that help us to understand the three dimensions of a drawing in the space?... No doubt whichever question we make we will never come to Aitor’s real artistic search, but probably this Popper’s appointment helps us to understand a bit of such fascinating and mysterious word of his Art… “art is not an exact science nor a clear experiment, neither the result of a sum of mathematic equations, where the man tries to solve the innumerable mysteries of science and the human life.

But the man could not live without the art, without the dreams of the art, without the internal being innovation by the art, an the man would not have the competence of the drawing, the painting, the sculpture, and the invention of the printing such as the photography and the cinema. They would have been forgotten, if Art would never have used those inventions. The man would never have had the experience of some of his darker feelings such as terror, horror, love, passion, sex, libido, or nature. Thanks to the art, the human being explores constantly fighting against its own “it” and his “I”, even facing one to each other, where the fight makes prevail the creating takes prevalence over the technique, or vice versa. The art is the highest gift of the man, since God made the man in the Garden of Delights, from his guts, sculpting and modelling a piece of clay.

If the human being was born from the art, from the same man was born the mysterious and wonderful world of its language. That is just what Aitor Urdangarin teaches us with his art and sculptures. He teaches us that shape, emptiness, space, drawing, matter, uprightness, gravity, plenty, horizontality, strength, weakness, tension, twist, beauty, poetry, musical quality, silence, interdisciplinary nature, everything, nothing, tidiness, dynamism, geometrics, imagination, light point, participation, speed, action and symbolism…are not just beautiful adjectives or established rules of art itself. But they are the “Arbeit” and the “Dasein” of the contemporary sculpture, we just have to look at it and let ourselves be carried away by its poetry, which is no small. This is simply what Aitor Urdangarin teaches us, to be able to speak and talk about art and to the art. Something that nowadays is not easy thing. A poet says:

“…The sculpture is a poem that was born from a simple scrawl, but magic and the breath of the artist models it, that reborns in three dimensions, moving across the empty space, and drawing a sculpture in the space of an idea… “ 

Artist, writer and art critic.
-Massimiliano Tonelli.-


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