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URBAN GLIMPSE november 13 - december 13, 2008
  • FRP706

    FRP706, 2007

    Oil on canvas, 195 x 180 cm.

  • EAZ805

    EAZ805, 2008

    Oil on canvas, 195 x 180 cm.

  • ECB802

    ECB802, 2008

    Oil on canvas, 180 x 150 cm.

  • FAP801

    FAP801, 2008

    Óleo sobre tela, 180 x 150 cm.

  • ECB801

    ECB801, 2008

    Oil on canvas 162 x 130 cm.

  • FRP803

    FRP803, 2008

    Oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

  • ARB804

    ARB804, 2008

    Oil on canvas, 180 x 150 cm.

  • ARB802

    ARB802, 2008

    Óleo sobre tela, 180 x 150 cm.

  • ARB803

    ARB803, 2008

    Óleo sobre tela, 162 x 130 cm.

  • ECB720

    ECB720, 2007

    Oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

  • EAZ804

    EAZ804, 2008

    Oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

  • EAZ801

    EAZ801, 2008

    Oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

  • FRP701

    FRP701, 2007

    Oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm.

  • FRP701

    FRP701, 2007

    Oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

  • FRP707

    FRP707, 2007

    Oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm.

  • Fragmentos

    Fragmentos, 2001

    Wood, digital printing and resin. Variable dimensions c/u. 14,5 x 10,1 x 5 cm.


Urban Glimpse turns the gallery into a series of shop windows that invite us to ponder their contents. With the oil paintings of Juan Zurita, in which the light and the colour set the tone, the city takes over the space: nightscapes of shopping areas where young people walk, where the “voyeur” artist, camera in hand, like an ocular prosthesis, ambles around, with no other intention than to capture its rhythm and take its pulse. After breaking the film into snapshots which he then organizes almost taxonomically transferring his selection to canvas afterwards, cartoon by cartoon gives body to a visual chronic of contemporary Western man’s ordeal. Recurring to a Baroque exercise, the repetitive use of a “picture within a picture”, a rhetoric resort difficult to describe, the horizons of all the works are the shop windows in a large city with their omnipresent phosphorescent signs, messages in typographic code which furnish the collective unconscious of the consumer society.
The energy, vitality and frantic activity, but also the illnesses: isolation – lack of communication, consumerism, loss of personality – massification – alienation and the anxiety, in fast and inexorable movement towards a more and more globalized common destiny.

The emblem of production cinema, which Moholy-Nagy tried unsuccessfully to produce with the film version of his written sketch “The Dynamics of the Great City” (1921-22), consisted of exactly that; to get a visual effect that didn’t respond to any script nor logical discourse whatsoever, being only the result of regrouping space-time events with a lot of movement “even to the point of brutality” :a sight-sound-movement equivalent to the disturbance produced by the human experience of being in a large city.
Rutman was also able to carry out a similar project in his “Berlin, symphony of a city” which Tim White Sobiesky evokes in his “New York Suite”, a mere aesthetics of light which was no reason for Moholy-Nagy not to conclude that aesthetics and ethics are inseparable, giving all work an ideological pedagogical function.
At the beginning of the 20s Russian constructivists Rodchenko, Pevsner and Gabo debated between denouncing figurative art and proclaiming the death of easel-art, within the framework of a demand for a production- related art understood as creation previous to reproduction, in which he intended to substitute the lack of mobility by filming. Moholy-Nagy considered that photography and cinema shared the same problem of “optic structuring”, which led him to establish a dialogue between artistic practices in an attempt to reconcile the three media in one constant interaction, circulation and exchange; without ever denying the character of autonomous creativity of the first two nor denying their validity as auxiliaries of the first. From his incessant experimentation come the snapshots, leaving the question of whether they precede or follow Man Ray’s “rayograms” open. In both cases the effect produced is “sublime, radiant and almost immaterial”, a source of “optical emotion” -according to his own words-, which Ray uses “putting a halo around everyday things”. Snapshots express amazingly the hard to capture relationship of space-time-movement-speed.

The figures we see in Zurita’s canvasses are on the verge of melting away, evaporating giving an effervescent, almost ghostly effect; sometimes wrapped in a brightness they seem to irradiate, like a shimmering star, as it tears across the sky. Technically speaking, this effect is produced by freezing the image, with the pixels more or less visible and as far as programming from a premeditated act to dignify each individual in their anonymity, elevating them from the “vulgar and ordinary collective perpetuation”, which Otto Rank established as the driving force of artistic creation. Hannah Arendt wrote: “even at the darkest of times we have a right to expect a certain illumination; this illumination can come to us less from theories and concepts than from the uncertain, titillating and often weak light that radiates out from some men and women in their lives and works, under almost all circumstances”. Zurita’s work doesn’t escape the hermeneutic

Zygmut Bauman defined the idea of liquid mortality and gave the quality of permanence only to the effect of the transitory in a liquid world, devoid of memory, in which time flows faster and faster, marking the rhythm of constant changes, where movement seems to be an end in itself. In recent times in a violent, even turbulent way, “an exhaustive real life problem” for the physic Rossner, with its correspondence, as social and political conflicts turn into chaos, certain chaotic situations, not lacking in a certain order: the “butterfly effect” of Edward Lorenz or the “free order” of Stuart Kauffman. From the general to the individual, leading us to the impossibility of solidification – settling- of concepts like guidelines, structures or nets, the family, class, neighbourhood, community..often art itself, become a consumer item. Consumption is one of the symptoms of illness, the illness, the opposite of “the unspoiled”, which is based on the association and continuity of temporal contacts.

Translated by Barbara Sheehy


© 2011 Isabel Hurley