Ignacio Uriarte


Ignacio Uriarte

“When I quit my last administrative job in order to work as a full-time artist, I realized that the newly gained freedom implied a great deal of responsibility. Under no circumstance I wanted to abuse art for the sake of a personal liberation, which would have turned me into a cliché artist (rebel and marginal). On the contrary, I decided to stay in my own personal ‘petit-bourgeois’ reality in order to deal with it from the inside, using the expertise acquired over the years. That is why I have not stopped using the same tools and methods, similar to those of any office employee, working in a routine way and with routine as my major focus. 

My starting point is the little creative moments within office routines, which mostly have a ridiculously small ‘artistic’ aspect to them. Examples: When we scribble during a phone conversation (20. Bic Monochromes, 2005) or when we rip off a page from a block (10. Blocs, 2003) we are creating small paintings and sculptures. The systematic repetition of these activities according to predefined rules turns them into meta-routines, into re-enactments of the Sisyphus myth. The only difference is that the resulting pieces register in detail the methodical and repetitive labour that was necessary for their production. This way, the routine survives, enabling the audience to read and mentally recreate it. 

Aesthetically, my work shows clear references to the conceptual and minimal art of the ‘60s and ‘70s. In those years the dematerialization of the art object in the art world and the substitution of products by services in the business world occurred almost simultaneously. Maybe that is why the esthetics also started to look alike, e.g. in the chromatic limitation or in the formal simplicity, which would signal how both commercial products and art objects now would be generated in a (blank) mind. We could even speak of a mutual fetishization which led, for instance, to the use of neon light and the archive as artistic media and to the preferred use of minimalist art as decoration in offices.”


Born in 1972, in Krefeld, lives and works in Valencia (ES)



Business Administration, Europäische Wirtschaftsakademie, Madrid (ES) 


Audiovisual Arts Studies, CAAV Universidad de Medios Audiovisuales, Guadalajara (MX)



‘Rechteck, Dreieck, Kreis’, Philipp von Rosen Galerie, Cologne (DE)

‘Zeit/Raum’, Rolando Anselmi, Rome (IT)


‘Drawn to See’, Bartha_contemporary, London (UK)

‘Duality’, Loom Gallery, Milan (IT)


‘Sequential Operations’, Gaep, Bucharest (RO)

‘MO_Showcase #30: Office Work’, Museum Ostwall in Dortmunder U, Dortmund (DE)


‘Movimiento Circolare’, Loom Gallery, Milan (IT)

‘Campos de texto’, NoguerasBlanchard, Madrid (ES)


‘Raumteilungen’, Philipp von Rosen Galerie, Cologne (DE)

‘Secuencias’, Sala Polvorín, La Ciudadela, Pamplona (ES)


‘Three Ways to Draw and One Way to Call for Attention’, Gaep, Bucharest (RO)

‘210 x 297 mm’, Kunstraum Lakeside, Klagenfurt (AT)

‘Verwaltungstakte’, Kunstmuseum Reutlingen – konkret, Reutlingen (DE)


‘X, Y, Z’, Museo ABC, Madrid (ES)

‘Divisions and Reflections’, i8, Reykjavik (IS) 

‘Apropos Papier: Ignacio Uriarte, Bürokünstler’, Leopold Hoesch Museum Düren (DE)


‘How to Define Space’, White Space, Beijing (CN) 

‘Form und Farbe – Analyse und Synthese’, Philipp von Rosen Galerie, Cologne (DE) 

‘Muro e parete’ (with Sol Lewitt), Galleria Gentili, Florence (IT)

‘Tipología de dibujo escultórico’, NoguerasBlanchard, Madrid (ES)

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‘Tres’, Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona (ES) 

‘Valores numéricos’, L21, Palma de Mallorca (ES) 

‘+ / -‘ (with Fiene Scharp), 401 Contemporary, Berlin (DE)


’Ignacio Uriarte’, White Space, Beijing (CN) 

‘Acht Stunden zählen’, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (DE)

‘Ignacio Uriarte’, i8, Reykjavik (IS)


‘Binaries’, UMOCA – Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (USA)

‘Line of Work’, The Drawing Center, New York (USA)



‘Red’, Bartha_contemporary, London (UK)


‘The Signs for Somewhere and Elsewhere and Here and Now’, Gaep, Bucharest (RO)

‘Kafka: 1924’, Villa Stuck, Munich (DE)

‘Straight Flush’, Philipp von Rosen Galerie, Cologne (DE)

‘Personal Showcase’, Rolando Anselmi Gallery, Rome (IT)


‘The Domino Effect 3’, Gaep, Bucharest (RO)

‘Un(Common) Values’, National Bank of Belgium, Brussels (BE)


‘The Domino Effect 2’, Gaep, Bucharest (RO)

‘Kein Tag ohne Linie. Werke aus der Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter’, Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch (DE)

‘Turno de réplica. Construcción/Composición’, Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid (ES)

‘All that is solid…’, Galerie Georg Nothelfer, Berlin (DE)

‘A History of Recent Art (1960 – 2020)’, Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca (ES)


‘The Domino Effect’, Gaep, Bucharest (RO)

‘Structuring Chance’ (curated by), Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld (DE)


‘A White Space Odyssey‘, White Space, Beijing (CN)

‘Nine Qwerty Bells. Fiction for live voice‘, Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK)

‘A Day’s Work’, Stiftung für konzeptuelle Kunst, Soest (DE)


‘Germany is not an island’, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn (DE)

‘La perspectiva esencial’, Centro de arte Alcobendas, Madrid (ES)

‘Borderline Relation’, Gaep (formerly EASTWARDS PROSPECTUS), Bucharest (RO)


‘Conversation Piece’, La Galleria Nazionale, Rome (IT)

‘Art and Alphabet’, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg (DE)

‘FORMASOBREFONDO’, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City (MX)

‘Tempo líquido’, Arquipélago Centro de artes contemporaneas, The Azores (PT)

‘Out of Office. Büro-Kunst oder Das Büro im Museum’, Museum für konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt (DE)

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‘Concret’, nationalmuseum, Berlin (DE)

‘Cut, Folded, Pressed & Other Actions’, David Zwirner, New York (USA)

‘3/1/1’, Zak | Branicka, Berlin (DE) 

‘EchtZeit – Die Kunst der Langsamkeit’, Kunstmuseum Bonn (DE)

‘Forjando el espacio’, Colección DKV, Museo del Patrimonio Municipal, Málaga (ES) 


‘Office Space’, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (USA) 

‘Drawing – The Bottom Line’, S.M.A.K. Ghent (BE)

‘Especies de Espacio’, MACBA, Barcelona (ES)

‘Drawing Now’, Albertina Museum, Vienna (AT) 

‘Listening to the Lines’, Maison Hermès, Tokyo (JP)

‘The Future of Memory’, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (AT)


‘Una pausa para reflexionar’, MUSAC, León (ES)


”My studio is similar to any office in the sense that I do almost all my works sitting at a desk. This dictates a certain format. Most of the drawings are medium or small. I design my exhibitions in relation to the architecture of the venues, so if I need bigger works, I plan them as modular works – let’s say, a group of 128 drawings that form a rectangle or a sequence of 40 drawings that build a long line on the wall. The biggest difference between my studio and a regular office is in terms of methodology. I allow myself to be unproductive. My actions are not always efficient or they are not aimed at a regular purpose. For example, people in an office write letters to communicate through words. When I write, it’s to create sensations or distractions or a meditative state through images. From a distance it may look like I’m working just as anybody else, but in reality I’m subtracting myself from the imperative of efficiency that rules most offices. Art gives me this luxury.”
“From the beginning, I set out to use my experience of working in an office as a framework for my drawings. I limited myself to small gestures, like drawing straight lines or scribbling. But although the works are based on simple gestures, they feature a wide array of techniques and results. (…) As I’m spending so much time drawing with repetitive gestures, I get to think a lot about the process itself and this leads me to the next idea [for a new work]. Sometimes it’s an accident that happens. Other times it’s something I learn while working. And other times I translate something that I’ve already done from one technique or one medium to another. ”
“Arta, în general, tratează teme majore, cum ar fi politica. Dar adeseori ignoră rutina de zi cu zi a oamenilor. Poate părea destul de limitat să vorbești despre activități banale, rutină și repetiție, dar ele relevă elemente universale. Unul dintre ele este ciclicitatea vieții în toate aspectele ei. Măsurăm timpul, totul se repetă, după zi urmează noapte și invers; ba chiar și politica se învârte în jurul noțiunilor de dreapta și de stânga. Toate acele lucruri mărunte care se petrec într-un birou pot fi transpuse și înțelese la un nivel global, un pic filosofic. Când schimbi unghiul din care privești, poți să descoperi potențial artistic în orice fel de acțiune.”


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