Places #1 | Francisco Ugarte

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Francisco Ugarte, Reflection, CURRO

Francisco Ugarte (b. Guadalajara, Mexico. 1973) lives and works in Guadalajara, he a BA in Architecture from the Western Institute of Superior and Technological Studies. He has had solo exhibitions at the Clemente Orozco Museum in Guadalajara, and the Experimental Museum El Eco in Mexico City. Select group exhibitions include the Raúl Anguiano Museum of Art, Guadalajara; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Salón ACME, Mexico City; and Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City. Special projects with Marfa Contemporary in Texas and SiTE:LAB in Grand Rapids, Michigan are forthcoming in fall 2016. His work is held in the Charpenel Collection and Colección Jumex, and he has been awarded residencies at the Careyes Foundation and Casa Wabi, both in Mexico. The artist lives and works in Guadalajara. Francisco Ugarte’s work is based on the grounds of architecture, mainly during the creative process: the proposal is generated from a deep focus in the environment, and it’s a response to it.

Francisco Ugarte grounds his multimedia, minimalist abstract works in the study of architecture and its effects, especially the role of light, time and geometry in constructing a viewer’s perception of space. His simple gestures aim to capture the essential nature of a material and a place.

Reflection | CURRO

His work seeks out encounters. Coincidental moments: between one material and another, between surroundings and the work with the audience; or between a specific time with daylight. The artist shares his fascination for the present; for that essential element which is here and has always been, either hidden or masked behind a veil. Ugarte´s work intends to make us aware of elementary features to better perceive time and space. Hence the use of light and all related phenomena (shadows, reflections, chiaroscuros) as central themes in his work frequently expressed through drawing.

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Francisco Ugarte, Reflection, CURRO

A specific type of drawing that borderlines writing (I Wish I Could Paint A Beautiful Landscape), used as a tool for exploration and knowledge. A drawing that should be understood here as the contact and reflection of two vital sets for the artistic creation: paper and graphite, lines and circles. Reflection by Francisco Ugarte could be an echo (reflection) of his homonymous book, carefully published by the editorial seal Mixedmedia.press, but not only that.

The linear reading experience of the book, which involves the performative process accomplished by the artist filling a notebook with simple strokes and then closing it to generate these graphite reflections on paper; the continuum of leafing through the book from left to right, noticing a kind of narrative in the various drawings and their reflections, reliving the moment in which the artist’s body and mind are dedicated to a single activity, are all fully and openly offered in this exhibition, observable at a single glance. This illusion of openness and simultaneity, far from trying to satisfy the compulsive need to embrace everything quickly and without the slightest attention, demands from the public a certain detachment – visual and mental -; it symbolizes, in addition, Ugarte´s constant search: the ever-present moment where time passes.

The large-format diptychs reproduce with great detail what was a quasirandom scrawl – in the style of Shodō, the art of Japanese calligraphy – and its corresponding trace when confronted with paper. This action in which the artist has neither total control of the result, nor is the direct author of the stroke. What was an abstract drawing is translated meticulously on a large scale, transforming into a hyper realistic work. The original drawing is instinctive; the larger replica, its expanded reflection, instead, arises from a well thought-out handcrafted work. From the minimalism, Zen experience and methodology of architecture, Francisco Ugarte seems to blur in this exhibition the limits between space and time, abstraction and realism; while he expresses the admiration for being present: to produce shadow, trace, reflection.

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Francisco Ugarte, Reflection, CURRO

A.S. The study of architecture and its effects are the core of your poetic. Time and geometry in constructing a viewer’s perception of space and the special role of the light reveals what is behind a veil, essential element which has always been here. How do you think this kind of perception of the world, places and objects can influence the public and the territory in which they are presented?

F.U. Perceiving and contemplating what is around you is a very introspective action. It may look like you are looking outside of yourself but, when you are aware of what is around you, you automatically position yourself in a place and moment in time (if you pay attention to the sunlight you understand that the light is coming from the sun and that fact gives you the perspective of your position in time). You see yourself as part of the whole. You see yourself. Paying attention and perceiving your surroundings is an universal action. To see and understand things in terms of light, space, materiality, color, sound, temperature etc. This are universal subjects. When you are perceiving something you forget what that is, you see it like it was the first time, with no cultural or historical meaning. This is what I try to accomplish with my work: to create situations that lead to moments of contemplation in the viewer.

A.S. How do you think the gallery could be a place to experiment this kind of relationship, between reality and perception?

F.U. An art gallery is a perfect place for this kind of experience. When you enter a gallery you are expecting to see something. You put yourself in paying attention mode. So half the work is already done. The other important part would be that what is exhibited in the gallery and how it is exhibited must somehow relate directly with the context, so instead of just looking at a paining (there is nothing wrong with that) you are also aware of where that painting is positioned and thus where you are positioned.