Residence: 2011eko Irailaren 15a | 2011eko Abenduaren 15a
ZUHAR IRURETAGOIENA www.zuhar.es (Zarautz, 1981) lives and works in Bilbao, where she also received her artistic training. In 2005 she graduated at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Leioa (UPV-EHU), she continued her artistic studies the following year at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. In 2008, she was awarded residency and workshop scholarships from the Fundación BilbaoArte and the Kunsthaus de Bregenz (Austria).
Among other awards, her works have been acknowledged with the first prize, Generación 2008, and with the ERTIBIL BIZKAIA 2009 first prize, in the itinerant young artists exhibition organised by the Department of Culture of the Regional Council of Bizkaia, and in 2011 she obtained the Artistas Noveles Guipuzcoanos Award.
Likewise, her plastic experimentation and investigation received support in 2010 in the shape of the Basque Government’s scholarship-aid to creation and a scholarship from the Vice-Rectorate for the Basque Language for the development of her Doctoral Thesis.
She has held individual shows of her works, including the following: Coreografías del esfuerzo / Ahaleginaren dantzak (2009), Fundación BilbaoArte, Bilbao and Kein titel zeitlos (2009), Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gazteiz.
Vexations is the title of the individual show that Zuhar Iruretagoiena presents in Sala Rekalde’s abstract cabinet in Bilbao.
In the shape of an exhibition the project resolves a deferred action, showing photographs, sculptures and other elements that have somehow been distilled in relation to an action that occurred in another time and another place (the action was recorded in the old Fire Brigade garage at Hendaye).
It is what occurs with similar practices such as performances and happenings that, although different in their formulation, also take place in a particular spot and a specific moment; that is to say, they are set within a space-time frame and are, in consequence, of an ephemeral nature. These experiences, unrepeatable both for the artist and for the attendant public who directly witness the work as it happens, suffer from the same contradiction. Since they are recorded using video or other audiovisual formats in which other professionals are already taking part and offering their own interpretation, they distort and betray the transitory nature of the performance; for, coming into being through the latter’s disappearance, they become a permanent documentary record.
However, Zuhar Iruretagoiena has attempted to steer away from performance, because she was not convinced by the idea of dramatising the action before an audience but wanted rather to experience and receive it as intensely as possible within a closed space. What specifically drew her was for the action to be recorded on video and through photography by four collaborators whom she would let roam free, with no prescribed guidelines, so that what documented the process would be their gaze.
Her intention was to create a project that brought together sculpture, video and photography as well as to collaborate with musicians so as to escape from the solitude of the studio. So she decided to rent the old Fire Brigade garage in Hendaye, where she shut herself away with a violinist and a saxophonist who, suspended from the ceiling by harnesses, attempted to execute a score whilst she banged them against a metallic structure. During her process of investigation she decided that score would be French composer Erik Satie’s Vexations, both because of its title, which conceptually matched the project idea, and because of the musician’s proposal that it should be interpreted 840 times over without a break.
To the circumstantial difficulties facing the musicians in the execution of their task the artist thereby added the impossibility of them completing their undertaking, taking the action to the limits of their strength and integrating the violence generated by the bangs, the noise and the lack of control in the musicians’ interpretation. For the artist “it is about representing the vexations and abuse we are capable of subjecting ourselves to through wishing to be what we desire”.
With the remains of this action Zuhar Iruretagoiena constructed the show Vexations. It comprises, on the one hand, thirty photographs that capture moments of the experience, and, on the other, two sculptures that are countermoulds of the structures dented by the “vexations” inflicted on the musicians and on a record -player the music interpreted during the action.
“Specifically”, the artist explains, “the project is structured as a laboratory of artistic experimentation around the investigations and theses of other creators (in this case, Erik Satie) and their translation into the language of the plastic arts, where I believe it is possible to learn, experiment and create new enriching readings, leaving negative charges and connotations to one side and treating it as FREE material in order to make use of its invaluable value for inspiration”.