DARÍO URZAY “En una fracción (desvelado)”


Juan Silió Gallery presents the first exhibition of Darío Urzay (Bilbao, 1958) at its pace in  Madrid. En una fracción (desvelado) in his most recent work he once again travels between different techniques and formats to evoke the traces left by light. His usual analysis of matter and representations is centered on a game of opposites – negative and positive, still and mobile – that now takes special presence in color and in the relationship between past and future, building images that distort space-time.

As Mikel Onandia points out in the text accompanying the exhibition, the new series of drawings by Darío Urzay refer to «on the one hand, a collection of photographic negatives made decades ago by his father, which the artist is reluctant to reveal; on the other, his interest in the drawings of George Seurat, which he has admired for a long time» and which introduce him into a world of grisaille and dotted images. The result is «an abstract production that suggests impossible worlds, the work of Darío Urzay is the result of a constant reflection on the gaze and perception».

Dust particles acquire prominence under the light, representing a choreography in space, materializing it and giving a fleeting glimpse of what could be another dimension. If we invert the process, the movement of a candle under a surface allows us to draw and translate the trace of light. The result is the most primitive dotted forms and the black of smoke, which also take us to an indeterminate space charged with the fragility that comes with standing in front of an unknown register.

This is how Darío Urzay faces his latest works, although the use of the negative is a constant in his work, which squeezes all the technical and formal possibilities of its representation. The negative of a handprint, that of a photographic capture or even the negative of a color. The idea of the opposite presents two realities and reiterates his need to capture what there is of one in the other. If we can locate the opposite, perhaps we will obtain the keys to understand the reality in which we find ourselves.

The representations, phantasmagoric in some cases, deepen the mysterious character of Urzay’s works in which, again in Onandia’s words, “the ambiguity about their pictorial or photographic nature, between digital and analog, virtual and real, is resolved in this case in favor of their tactile quality, whose development does not work as an exact opposite, but as an essay in the creation of a reality impossible to unveil”.

That uncertainty was already present in the Camerastrokes, which the artist himself defines as “a recurring series in time, which began back in 1991. They are gestures in the air, holding a camera for one or two seconds of exposure with the shutter open. It is a way of drawing with the body, leaving a record in the hand”. This is how Urzay himself defines these abstractions that seem to reflect the trace of the movement of light, but always observed from our world, from our time. The search for similarities through the inversion of processes now leads him to less technological, more unstable processes, with which he achieves sustained images without a determined time. A cave, whose ceiling is the pictorial support and under which he places himself to execute the movement of the candle, is the portal that connects with another dimension. Among these images, as a reference that unites times and pasts, appears the image taken by his father and that the artist kept developed, but not positived. It is a place difficult to locate that opens a space-time crack, revealing a similarity between what seems to be taken from the future and what is taken from the past. It could be real, invented or perhaps it has captured the landscape seen when we manage to travel at the speed of light.

The negative is also present through the inversion of colors, such as turquoise that emerges as the opposite of red, and expands in forms that are born from the flowing of the paint until it finds its own form. The composition is a landscape that moves away from the contemplative vision of objects or nature, and uses the very mutability of matter as the axis of action and representation. Images and layers that overlap, that are entangled forming environments that represent both the macro and the micro, and are described again under the appearance of contradiction. The stillness of images that expand in all directions – like dust particles under the light – to places where up is down and down is up.


Darío Urzay (Bilbao, 1958) was awarded the Gure Artea Prize by the Basque Government in 2021. His work is part of numerous collections, including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Centro Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, MACBA in Barcelona, the Deutsche Bank Collection in London, the Würth Museum in Logroño, FNAC in Paris, the Iberdrola Collection, The Prudential Collection in New York, Marugame Hirai Museum in Marugame (Japan), Banco de España in Madrid, Botín Foundation in Santander, Patrimonio Nacional, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Patio Herreriano in Valladolid,Fundación I.C.O. Foundation in Madrid, Holm Collection in Norway or the Sorigué Foundation in Lleida. His work has also been recognized with awards such as the National Graphic Art Award (2005), the Excellent Work Award at the Beijing Biennial (2005).


January 28 enero –  March 18 marzo 2023

Darío Urzay

Galería Juan Silió
C/ Dr. Fourquet, 20, 28012. Madrid.

Tuesday – Friday,
11am – 7pm.

11am – 2pm.