AN AMBIENT RESEMANTIZATION OF THE EVERYDAY OBJECT
Text : Dan Breaz
"Arta Magazin", november 2022, Bucharest, Romania.
Personal exhibition "Babel", Museum of Art, Cluj-Napoca, curator Bogdan Iacob, Romania.
03.03.2022 – 20.03.2022
The exhibition “Babel” by the artist Arantxa Etcheverria which opened at the Art Museum in Cluj-Napoca in Partnership with Sector1 Gallery in Bucharest (3-20 March 2022, curated by Bogdan Iacob) departs from some of art history’s challenging questions to which Arantxa Etcheverria offers some of the most unlikely answers, yet backed by a powerful, coherent and convincing artistic endeavor. Kazimir Malevich’s famous work “The Black Square” and the” Black on Black” or “White on White” series stood as purist elaborations, true abstract syntheses, consonant with the values of pure plasticity developed by some like Piet Mondrian or Theo Van Doesburg.
Arantxa Etcheverria’s answer to some of these plastic representations implies a staging of geometry, the release of pure plasticity, from previous non-chromatic stillness or from the visual play between monochromatic geometries by recuperating their volumeters and ambient rezemantization. In the newly exhibited works, the quadrangles become wooden constructions taking on different shapes of white, green, or violet windows hung like paintings on the wall, or propped red and blue wooden gates. On the question of a possible devaluation of aesthetic, Arantxa Etcheverria reclaims a new life for the aesthetic form itself as seen in the works “White Window with Circles”, “Plum Window with decorative heads”, “Blue Entry” and “Red Entry”, where apparent functional artifacts are aesthetically appropriated.
The exhibition encompasses a series of wooden works, projected by the artist in a way that, though a careful mounting, cementing, and painting, resemble three-dimensional collage-panels, windows-panels, or gates with decorative use. The collage-panels contain letters and numbers which occupy- in sections suggested through volumes and colors- positions that are so, defined it simulates a clear visualization of the artwork’s central lines. The complex delineations, the wooden window grids, and the gates in the exhibition, their saturated and pure colors exempted from the imperfections of use, shed a new light on what traditionally has not been associated with artistic performance itself. The window glasses do not lead to any interior and the window glasses do not lead to any interior and the windows grids are not meant to protect. Yet, their pure colors and exquisite details are impressive for a visual investigation, similar to that of paintings. The result is both extravagant and aesthetic-oriented, as a result of the artist’s vision to offer an imaginative rereading of the everyday object.
The avant-gardist aspiration to integrate art in like, accentuated by the rational-functional direction of constructivism, particularly through its encounters with the De Stilj group, receives here another ingenious reply. Arantxa Etcheverria reformulated this intent by integrating life in art. The installation entitled “White Church”, representing a replica of an Orthodox church placed on a table and two screens which could beautifully ornament a household, points once again to a form of life interpreted aesthetically. Congruous to the window-panels, the image of the church and the empty frames of the two joint screens reflect the idea of openness and positioning of equal aesthetic coordinates, created to be engaged from a life-size stance. The human is integrated in all aspects related to the scenography and the visual language of the exhibition. The performance at the opening provided all necessary visual instruments for such an interpretation. The artist’s collaborators, Ada Musat and Cristina Buta, both dressed in red and respectively in blue, like the colors of the exhibited works, converted the forms of the alphabet letters through slow body movements.
These gestures acted as visual signs impregnated with linguistic value, aesthetically arranging a “babel” of letters read through aleatory body gestures in the order of spontaneous life options.
The meaning-making manipulation of the exhibition space, the interrelation between the exhibited works with a focus on the logics of the conceptual basis of a unit, the performance as a means for an artificial analysis of the visual sign, the ambiguous relationship between functionality and aesthetics and finally, the restating of language conventions assumed as
embodied metalanguage, lend a discursive significance to the artistic vision of representation as an ideal way of existence.
ARANTXA ETCHEVERRIA's WELL TEMPERED GEOMETRY
Text : Ami Barak
Catalog "Doors", Arantxa Etcheverria, DVC, Cantz Edition, Berlin, Germany.
Arantxa Etcheverria is a French artist who lives and works in Bucharest, Romania. Her introspective, meditative work aspires to a certain idealism. Although she declares no intent to imitate or even reflect reality, the underlying symbolism of her work rests upon a fundamental reality. Her grids operate with binary polarity – they rule in order even as they allow for an appreciable margin of myth. The architecture of the spaces represents something real but at the same time leaves free course to meandering thought. Arantxa Etcheverria creates works that are wittingly scenographic and which structure interior space not as a decor or a set, but as a systematic display scheme.
I had the opportunity to enter Arantxa Etcheverria’s studio whilst preparing the second edition of the Art Encounters Timisoara 2017 Biennale, whose title was “Life – A user’s guide”. It was my co-curator, Diana Marincu, who initiated the studio visit. It was easy to agree to inviting Etcheverria to the Biennale, where she proved to be one of the event’s most promising discoveries.
Arantxa lives and works in an astonishing modernist building designed by architect Marcel Iancu, also known as the dadaist Marcel Janco. The building is named after Solly Gold, the banker who commissioned Iancu, and is presently a classified monument. Seen from the street, the building’s volume appears like an irregular pentagon. Inside, Etcheverria disposes of an apartment that features a two-level void space in the living area – at the time an affirmation of modernity. There is a real unity in both Iancu’s architectural schema and his investment in the minutest details of the interior design, both of which are imprinted with the same abstract geometric motif and lines that follow the curves of the balconies or stairwells. Etcheverria’s work, whether her paintings or her sculptures-installations, undeniably echo and refer to this environment in a powerful intergenerational manner. It is obvious that such a space, with the weight of history, engages and inspires equally. The vocabulary seems at first to relate to geometric abstraction and thus finds nourishment in the progressive ideals of the period, influenced by the Romanian architect. But Arantxa Etcheverria renews this means of expression by instituting a new way of dealing with spaces where the sightlines set out to enlarge the perspectives. She extends and explores new territories. The modern movement has always helped to enhance our way of seeing art: precisely because it does not play upon representations but on lines, forms, movement, it forces the spectator to observe, analyze, and even move about, so as to become in a sense an active participant in the creation. Etcheverria’s work never ceases to move and to evolve. Because she knows how to play with the technical and artistic attributes of her own era, she lives with her time and surprises us.
Geometric abstraction is thus a locus of resistance to the image, even as representation and abstraction intertwine in the renewed potential that Arantxa unleashes. She enlists all kinds of references, intellectual and visual, in formal and performative projects where borders have been abolished and a referential regime established in which we find willingness to create a – more or less augmented – image.
Layouts, gestures and colors lose their subjectivity as they are transformed and become images in themselves, inspired by the propitious architectural environment where they are created. In the present case, it is the brightly colored illuminations of the Commentary on the Apocalypse written by the Spanish monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana, that inspired some of Etcheverria’s two-dimensional works and performative installations. Each of these references evokes some owned image and there-use of cardinal forms of abstraction, not as an inventory of forms nor ironic subversiveness, but as a veritable fulfillment.
The stylized miniatures in Beatus Commentary on the Apocalypse seem extraordinarily modern to a contemporary eye. During the last quarter of the 8th century, Asturian artists breathed new impetus into their religious iconography with a spirited graphic style that still bewitches us. Tradition and modernity, Romanesque lines and Mozarabic style developed by the Christians of Spain melded in a masterpiece that operates a remarkable synthesis of elements from various spatial and temporal horizons, orchestrated on a checkered and brightly colored backgrounds. For Arantxa Etcheverria, geometry becomes an interior itinerary thanks to the use of typically Romanesque shortened perspective that foregrounds hieratic figure under round arches.
These manifold approaches and processes are intrinsic to the artist’s interrogations of the formal language of modernism as it is reformulated through the heritage of domestic vernacular
used to win sensory and sensual freedom. This liberty can be found in either the confrontation with architecture and interior decoration or with iconography and compositions referring to a faraway past. In these confrontations, we find differentiated temporal tranches and new forms of narration. These strategies become operative as they manifest a new energy even if they must do violence to codes, between figures of rupture and negotiations with the world we live in. Inherent is an effort to reconfigure abstraction in all its modes, including occulted patrimony. Interrogating these procedures, whether they are voluntarily strategies of critical distance or of social and political implication only serves to demonstrate the fecundity of the artist’s solution as it reveals a representative artistic pursuit that explores today’s actual conditions and possibilities as much in embodied action as in the interrogations they suggest.
Etcheverria’s art is by no means ascetic and yet it is undeniably of Suprematist or even Constructivist affiliation. She introduces a third dimension in her compositions as they appear for the most part in subtle relief, or with certain overlays of grids which have forsworn their relationship to the wall to find themselves on the floor. With this evocation of Tatlin’s reliefs is born a rematch from a century’s distance. Indifferent to the theological content produced by the pioneers of abstraction, Arantxa nonetheless seeks to continue their experiments. Indeed, one can experience this as a kind of injunction addressed to the public: Look, there is more to see than what you see!
With her background as a set designer, Arantxa Etcheverria finds it easy to abolish the borders between different artistic disciplines. When she refuses the flatness of the picture plane, she turns to experiments with performers and a variety of media. In these performance pieces, the illusionistic space of painting is replaced by the perfectly real space in which the performer moves, and in which the spectator is in and around the work of art. Thus, she vests the work with a certain viability despite its abstract aspect. Without the least equivocation, she implicates the viewer into her own preoccupations, mainly to account for, in the most serious way possible, the decorative issue. Indeed, what first comes to mind for the spectator is the decorative quality of her artworks. When the viewer is seduced, s/he tends not to ask for more. As the philosopher Alain remarked: “All the arts are like mirrors in which the human being recognizes and becomes cognizant of something about himself that he ignored.”
Trained in the theatrical arts and often working in the world of cinema, Arantxa Etcheverria has learned to deliver visual works in which gestures are orderly and applied, in which the choice of materials, of media, of environment, of color symbolism, of forms and signs echo a perceived reality.
All of this results simultaneously from the artist’s decisions visual problems as well as her empathy for the world at large.
Knowing the artist’s motivations and the circumstances of the genesis of her work informs us that there is a spiritual, mystical and philosophic background at the source of her artistic creation.
This art of clarity and discipline aims to reflect the tangible realities hidden behind the changing forms of subjective appearance. Art is never perceived only by the eye. It is seen under the light of cultural assets; for every domain relating to human activity, exegeses are necessary to keep wits alert and to welcome the present with the wisdom of the past.
There is in Etcheverria’s art an omnipresence of the grid. We know from reading the seminal essay by art historian Rosalind Krauss* that in the spatial sense, the grid states the autonomy of the realm of art, that it is antinatural, antimimetic, antireal. In Etcheverria’s case, the grid refuses flatness and does not demonstrate the dimensions of reality, it quite naturally presents itself as a replica. In the overall regularity of its organization, it is the result not of imitation, but of aesthetic decree. She uses it as a means of validating objects and architectural elements to which it bestows an appropriate order. In the orthogonal scheme of her grids, Etcheverria distills the intrusions that adulterate spatial illusionism, just as a blur or a sensorial quiver recalls Martin Barré’s smoke. It is as if she has chosen to treat simple conventions with perfectly traced lines, where the obliques never meet, no lines run parallel, and the mastery of the layout results not from planar geometry, but from a gesture of the mind. The perceivable imperfections are presented as the action of a painter. They endow the lines with some kind of embodiment: from the relatively abrupt movement that engendered them. By creating a system that voluntarily includes the aleatory and unpredictable, Arantxa Etcheverria reminds us that she is no geometer; and that her variations are simple calls for attention. What we’re seeing is a kind of liberated expression that favors a new appearance of space, an emotion intrinsic to of the object-painting or the installation. An emotion like a soft glance against what is not fixed, what seems to be energy seized in flight, when something else happens instead of stability. And thus immediate forces harnessed for the creation of art push the experience of the lightness to its ultimate extension.
* Grids, Rosalind Krauss in October, vol. 9 (Summer 1979), pp 50-64.
Text : Alina Serban
Catalog "Doors", Arantxa Etcheverria, DCV, Cantz Edition, Berlin, Germany.
You get a sense of the city by walking it. Nothing allows the eye better to take in life on the city’s corridors than to take refuge in places occupied absolutely at random. When you walk, the relationship between looking and the world shifts. An unscheduled plunge into the arrhythmic flux of images encapsulated in the body of the city creates the conditions for timelessness, for a state of rest. Far from the deafening din of car horns, from the human thrum, from the augmented susurration of advertising, the gaze traces imaginary maps. Insatiably contemplating abandoned fragments, unknown to the memory of your contemporaries, your gaze unwittingly salvages the traces of finished histories. Immobilised by the perseverant eye of the one who roams the city aimlessly, details of architecture, dusty ironwork, the primary geometries that make up the grilles of front doors and windows become an incentive for reveries that are transformed into characters released from the constraints of a secondary game. The gaze rediscovers and thereby gives life to refuges from history and something else besides.
This “something else besides” is determined by the faculty of imagination, by its capacity to “distort”* images as we see them and to provide the intellect with new experiences. Feeding the imaginary with the detail recognisable at a formal and almost indecipherable level in regard to the new meanings that it takes on becomes one of Arantxa Etcheverria’s favourite means of expression.
Like a flaneur, as she roams Arantxa Etcheverria lets herself be carried along by the distinct scents of the city, in this case Bucharest, a city unevenly marked by the various phases of its modernity.
Here, dense layers of history interpenetrate harmoniously or, on the contrary, they cancel each other out only to give birth to a Babel-like, almost phantasmagorical urban landscape. In this vortex of forms and architectural surfaces, of encounters between modernity and contemporaneity, Arantxa Etcheverria succeeds in taking “possession” of witnesses, of an index of forms, structures, whose synthecic grammar resonates with the neo-constructivist aesthetic, with the vibrant rhythms of Op-art. They are begun for a different journey. Excised from the opaque background of the everyday by means of the camera, they acquire a new, reinvented life in the series of works that the artist created from 2013 to 2020. Shedding its intrinsic functionality and immediate relationship with the city’s reality, their formal, ascetic writing is animated by the artistic concept. Arantxa Etcheverria’s interest in the poetics of the fragment, in the animated existence of the object once it is situated on a different level, that of art, determines the elaboration of structural visual world in which the memory of the fragment meets its attraction toward reformulating the manner in which we are able to configure and experience space.
Becoming constitutive elements of an ideatic construct, these structures freely positioned within the neutral space of the gallery appropriate a new content to themselves. They might be described as studies in the combination of surfaces, studies that examine the relationship between solid and empty, present and absent, interior and exterior, as imaginary architectures of a fragmented reality. Nevertheless, the optical or neo-constructivist charge of the site-specific installations, of the objects in the “Double Structures”, “Structures”, “Interiors”, “The Studio” series, does not result from an appropriation of science, it is not indicative of the recourse to the first avant-garde, although the primary colours they employ suggest such contiguities. If we examine the practice of Arantxa Etcheverria, we observe a distinct impulse toward deconstruction of the objective referent—of those details of door and window grilles, of those arbitrary geometries sketched by the volumes of her -studio. This working method suggests that there is “a memory of perception” that is “open, evasive”. Further, it clearly designates the dialectic relationship that it establishes between reality “as we know it” and reality “as we imagine it.”
Nevertheless, there is a certain paradox in its working process guided by direct observation and empirical research and which causes the objectivity of its images to be deceptive. Whereas at the urban level these structures are constantly transformed, disintegrated, destroyed, or lose the intensity of their presence as a result of their integration into the sea of signs and visual signals that define the city’s portrait, in the exhibition space they are reborn, reconstructed, and they remain unchanged. Here, they seem to be stuck in an atemporal limbo. And they acquire an ambiguous status. In such circumstances, they can be viewed as a prop in a play without actors or as an extremely concise spatial diagram of an architectural utopia. Between theatricality and the oneiric, Arantxa Etcheverria’s works summon us to an essentialised, reified environment where the idea of the frame intervenes in various guises. This appeal to the fixed frame, to the encapsulation of the geometric fragment within a border, generates similarities with pictorial space. A certain pictoriality of representation can be glimpsed. Even when human figures populate her installations, they are frozen and through their posture and colour they are placed within a relationship of continuity with the spatial structures. Read as two-dimensional surfaces, the human bodies are traces of a possible existence within an unknown reality, that of the image.
But it is not only the city that is Arantxa Etcheverria’s companion in dreaming, to paraphrase Bachelard. Her studio, housed in a historic building designed by modernist architect Marcel Janco, is a leitmotiv of her researches. The confluences between the architectural and the artistic imaginary reveal new situations for knowing the forms that the space contains. Her approach is in consonance with her tireless acts of deconstructing an eminently recognisable real, of modifying the means of perception by revealing unexpected details. This time, the artist’s gaze lingers on a series of visual clues drawn from the ambience of an authentic modernist architecture. A new type of representing the identity of the architectural interior is thereby advanced. In this new context, the artist pursues the way in which abstract, asymptomatic compositions arise from ephemeral encounters between architectural form and light. The image of the studio, freed from the tectonics of its architecture, is pursued via an open system of fluid representations. They are a result of the act of remembering space, of moving through it once more, treated through photography, animation, drawing. At the same time, Arantxa Etcheverria’s recurrent returns to the studio, each time reconquering it, approaching it from a new position, reflect an attempt to restore the nobility it has lost with the passing of time. The solution Arantxa Etcheverria proposes is not to transform the studio into the subject of an artistic demonstration; she endeavours to work with a documentary material, to re-valorise the idea of architecture as a space of reveries, of ideatic mobility, and to understand the relationship between space and the subjectivity of its occupant. Here, too, the same as in other works, this translates as a mechanism of abstraction.
For whomever enters the world of Arantxa Etcheverria, it is obvious that her art succeeds in re-establishing the dominant position of contemplation within the process of creation. As her visual vocabulary suggests, the essential quality of her works is that of a direct witness to worlds that are ignored or that are disintegrating, a witness that contests her own condition and reinvents herself. The rebirth of this witness as an artistic object allows us to trace the after-life of forms, the way in which they become visible within the field of the image once more. In essence, the art of Arantxa Etcheverria is symbolically situated on both the one side and the other of the threshold of an imaginary door. For, the spaces thrown into relief by the abstract geometries of her objects are simultaneously public and private, familiar and unfamiliar, personal and collective.
Text : Liviana Dan
"Arta Magazin", january 2018, Bucharest, Romania.
Personal exhibition "Interio/Interioare", Victoria Art Center, Bucharest, Romania.
14.09.2017 – 10.10.2017
Arantxa Etcheverria’s show, opened at Victoria Art Center in Bucharest at the end of the last year,
was succint, beautiful and brimming with light (…)
Acquainted with the avant-garde and soviet constructivism, Arantxa Etcheverria’s investigation expands to Frederick Kiesler, mirrors, projections, the dream-reality syntagm and the Californian Light and Space Movement of 60ies. She goes from scenography to a long term project of functional and spiritual structures, of strongly geometrical forms. A daring statement recalling Kiesler’s bravery: form follows function, function follows vision and vision follows reality. Those who see her work begin inhabiting them. And a design kit becomes the tools for this habitation.
Arantxa Etcheverria attempts to reach a maximum of meaning with a minimum of means. Her artwork (paintings, drawings, collages, objects, sculptures, installations) are exclusively, perfectly finished, firms and simple, with a mostly severe composition. Their solitary individuality recalls the structures of the relatively concentrated history of minimalism. Arantxa Etcheverria prefers wood and repetitive structures. There is, in her work, a cultivated sense of colour: the pink niche, Matisse’s colours turned urban, argumentative, liberal, savvy. Colour, similar to the “early morning light” can alter structure. Everything becomes purely retinal, absolutely tactile.
Intellectual rigor always allows for a multiple level poetic and for certainty of language. Arantxa Etcheverria focuses on a what is truly important: form, proportion, colour. And on an ineffable quality witch we could call “presence”.
GIVEN A RANDOM POINT
Text : Xandra Popescu
Personal exhibition "Given a random point", Atelier 35, curators Xandra Popescu and Larisa Crunteanu, Bucharest, Romania.
03.03.2015 – 30.03.2015
Or about the imponderability of a point.
The point as a form of ultimate abstraction. Stripped of materiality or dimension.
Actually, has anyone ever seen a point ?
Although it represents a basic concept of geometric analysis, when subjected to individual analysis, we realize that the point lacks any sort of content (F.Klein, Elementary Mathematics from an Advanced Standpoint : Geometry). By the way, about the point, ever since Euclid, we know that it has no parts.
A void full of meaningful at the intersection between mathematical nominalism and idealism, between geometry and philosophy, the point is all around us and yet nowhere. If two worlds were to intersect in a single point, they could have everything or nothing in common.
Such a point can be found inside the eyeball, where the image of the world is inverted to then be projected upside down on the retina.
Situated uncertainly inside the pupil this point may glide depending on the plane of sight. This comprises two worlds – one that lies ahead of us and one beyond our sight, yet remaining outside of it.
Let's call it the-point-in-witch-the gaze-contains-itself.
A big-bang moment inside being : in which the image of the whole gathers in a minuscule point to then explode and make all the sense we give to the world. In this point, the entire content captured by vision acquires the same value on the same informational plan – the material blends in with its shadows, and emptiness is confused with fullness.
So here we are in a paradoxical situation : the point, lacking any content, becomes the material manifestation of a bipolar representation.
Arantxa Etcheverria creates a series of geometrics situations, intercepting instances of immanence in everyday life. Forms of conjunction between light and shadows, brought together in the same bidimensional plan.
Given a Random Point function as a waiting room for a new state of consciousness.
Text : Suzana Dan
Personal exhibition "Comedia", Art On Display, Musette Kube, Bucharest, Romania.
15.10.2015 – 25.10.2015
Arantxa Etcheverria projects her artistic universe around her workshop, her physical presence being usually related to the structure of this place. We find the same principle applied in the case of a clothing store from the project Art On Display.
At first sight the store looks like a design type arrangement of a fashion brand. A closer look reveals a huge moving self-portrait of the artist upside down, wearing a striped blouse, a symbol along the centuries of people situated at the edge of social integration like prisoners, sailors and clowns. The playful environment is completed by a series of screen structures that display geometric patterns of urban windows.
A reverse theatre scenography of falling and loss. The artist hanging upside down brings up the image of the hanged man in the tarot deck whose positive significance is to sit crooked but talk straight. An ironical, awkward, scammer contemporary Arlecchino who is there just to ask uncomfortable questions. This position gives a different perspective, far away from conventional rigid concepts… one needs a moment of expectation and reflection… one need a break before moving further down their path.
Text : Marius Tanasescu
Personal exhibition "Anatomy", Alert Studio, Bucharest, Romania.
03.07.2014 – 25.07.2014
The recent work of Arantxa Etcheverria positions itself where three fields intersect : design, photography and video.
The design element of the video can be seen in the arbitrarily superimposed viewpoints of the Alert Studio, representing the temporal possibilities of the space.
In this way, space itself is dissected architecturally, according to unspoken rules, where the lines run this way and that, superimposed and transparent, to create a variety of forms.
The white square becomes the symbol of the white cube gallery and the concept of architecture itself, while the black lines represent the materialisation of the spirit of the space itself.
The video work is a dance of lines and contours, accompanied by the low of the txalapartei, a Basque musical instrument used in pagan rituals.
This photographic self-portrait at first appears to be a dreamlike one, but actually represents a state somewhere between sleeping and waking.
The space becomes a vivisection within a temporal vacuum, or rather, in a space disconnected to time.
TRACES and ARCHITECTURES
Text : Tiberiu Adelmann
Personal exhibition "Traces", Baril Gallery, Paintbrush Factory, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
3.10.2014 – 10.11.2014
Arantxa Etcheverria is preoccupied to create networks, dots linked by straight or curves lines in a complex formalism that raises directly (as tautological as it may sound !) from Euler Theorems or graph's theory and all that stuff (graphs= an ordered pair of finite non-voided multitudes of elements : knots or tips and edges or arcs, according to Wikipedia).
One might initially think that the networks Arantxa Etcheverria draws are meant to be definitions of the space, forms far away from savant templates, lines deliberately kept clean, whose poor symmetry, though suggests a more elaborate driving reason.
Simple, therefore insufficient ! Because under the power of the network lines we decipher as in a delicate engraving the fine lace-works of the architectural details, cornices or frontons or entire silhouettes, of some of Art Deco houses in Bucharest, in a process of affectionate recovering or, more complex even, of sketching (pun intended, we are talking about drawings) some cultural relationships.
After all, any network knot represents the intersection of lines, which in their turn, unite other knot points.
The discretion by the means of witch the background objects are figured doesn't hide though the obsession for one of the houses designed by Marcel Iancu (the Solly Gold Building), which become significant both for the subtlety and the rational component of her art. There is no doubt that the site-specific pieces and installations form the core of her artistic approach.In other of her works – somewhere in her correspondence, a naughty typo calls them “tablurii” (in Romanian, something like “paintings”) – she inserts silhouettes whose gray shades give them an unearthly appearance and therefore an odd sensuality. Some other times, her templates are presented on surfaces resembling the prints on the linoleum used in the country kitchens, a contrast so violent that it suggests a process of exorcising the kitsch. Finally, her art installations are superpositions of geometrical forms who repeat the details of some of the metallic constructions that the artist captured photographically in her (probably melancholic, definitely solitaire) expeditions throughout the city. Still, all of these elements are united by a certain accuracy of the work, by a certain cleanliness which accentuates the lucidity you suspect behind the composition, something that engenders the comforting feeling of safety.
ARANTXA-METRY: THE AXIOM OF A SENSITIVE GEOMETRY
Text : Silviu Paduraru
Online magazin, "Unrest/Bucharest", Bucharest, Romania.
The point has no mass or volume. This humble point is the gateway through which an infinity of straight lines that support a plane could cross, and an infinity of planes will support a space. These newly emergent planes and spaces gain palpable shape and volumes, yet the point remains with no mass, with no volume. Since Pythagoras and up to the present, people have been seeking, whether in art or science, for sensitive and material structures among these pure and abstract coordinates in order to establish a stable reference mark on the delicate floating area between the subjective imaginary and the objective reality.
On this indefinite, transparent and untraceable, but necessary area between the subjective and objective reality, Arantxa Etcheverria proposes a false geometry in a false painting, with false extras. She imitates and performs the classic graphical process by means of drawn, metallic, objectual or photographic threading architecture. Most formulas attempt to keep a classic framed picture, of a painting, with no canvas and no oils. The canvas surface is replaced by our own convention of our internal surface, while the drawing and the color are replaced by pure abstract rhythms and patterns, of materials closer to sculpture or conceptual art. The discourse is emotional in an elementary, axiomatic key. Without theorizing, narrating or searching for a purpose or cause. Without a time dimension. It locks a moment of one’s own subjectivity, own identity. The point with no mass and no volume becomes real just in these various and variable identifying convergences between the objective, exterior reality and the subjective, sensorial, internal reality. Arantxa, the name, conjures up at the primary level the meaning of thorn, spike – the sensitive point of a sharp angle formed between two lines which tend to move away from each other, to become parallel. The sharp and punctiform, steady identity imprints onto the objective reality signs and traces of a specific structure, equally common and personal.
At the same time, beyond the exercise of identity and the transparent process of fixing the own pattern into the objective reality, can also be ‘read’ as a process of re-studying the history of art, revealing ‘traces’ of Joseph Kosuth, Donald Judd or Sol LeWitt. However, the construct Traces, on the whole, puts together the tools of several forms of expression and means, from classic paper or printed canvas to the independent object, from minimalist sculpture to conceptualism. The sum of these particular geometries defines an individuated, balanced, organised territory that does not contain a specific message, a distinct subject or meaning. We are privileged to see through the works and not beyond them.
Text : Liviana Dan
Personal exhibition "Corner", Calina Gallery, Timisoara, curator, Liviana Dan, Romania.
10.02.2014 – 14.03.2014
In contrast to digital and multimedia directions it can be argued that design/drawing has become a major parallel for contemporaneity. The artist who now work in a nonhierarchical manner with multiple practices, techniques and technologies have changed its role. The most important concepts of the contemporary design/drawing are intentionality and absence of barriers. The drawings may be sculptures, installations, they may incorporate video footage, and the Modil film used for making the image equally as important as the image itself. DESENUL SANS RIVAGE/THE SANS RIVAGE DRAWING is a platform about thinking in drawing, about contemporary design as an idea and a process, proposed by Calina Gallery to the artists Arantxa Etcheverria, Gili Mocanu Patricia Teodorescu, and Sebastian Moldovan.
Rational and academic in orientation, Arantxa Etcheverria starts from Marcel Iancu's concrete-contructivist project for the banker Solly Gold. The project contains rigorous questions about space, shape, and line. For her aesthetic investigations Arantxa Etcheverria systematically employs, as if she used a pattern, the compositional logic of the grille, of the geometrical configured grid, of the delicately serialized lines. Having a particular and elegant relationship with the minimalism, Arantxa Etcheverria proposes subtle irregularities in tone and texture, discretion of the diagrams and contemplative simplicity. Clear lines structure the composition, although behind the composition there is always a safety level.
Text : Ruxandra Balaci
Personal exhibition "Studio/Structures", Anexa MNAC ( National Museum of Contemporary Art ), curator Ruxandra Balaci, Bucharest, Romania.
29.04.2013 – 04.06.2013
The studio as a place of solitary, uncertain endeavours, of ambitious explorations, of tensions generating projections and structures in real virtual spaces. The studio as a place marked by the vision of Marcel Iancu, a remarkable architect and designer of the inter-war period, whose presence-absence is profoundly subliminally assimilated by the artist. The fascination of the oscillation between the figurativ and non-figurativ, between deformation and reformation, between structure formation and de-structuring. An art of contrasts and balances, crystallized critically in the atmosphere of the Bahaus/deco studio, a generic hybridization taking place under the auspices of a masked Manichean battle between the exacerbated temperamental dynamic and the balanced refinement.
Between the serene asceticism and the contained drama. One should also note the visible references to the post-communist turbo-architecture, to op-art and the minimum conceptual, to Vasarely and Paolini, and not least, to the albertian/Albert cube-a mise-en-abime of the notions of tri-dimensional space. Through the door-grids-frameworks, fragile transits towards a fourth dimension are suggested…
01 – Grey Geometric Pattern, 2016, forex, acrylic, wood, 142 x 145 x 4 cm.
02 – Exhibition view : solo exhibition Traces, 2014, Baril Gallery, Paintbrush Factory, Cluj-Napoca (RO).
03 – Detail from The Taking of Babylone nr.1, Apocalypse/Beatus serie, 2022, digital photography.
04 – Corner, 2013, video.
05 – Exhibition view : duo exhibition A Silent Dialogue, 2016, with Robert Koteles, Club Electro Putere, curator Silviu Paduraru, Craiova (RO).
06 – Grey Circles, 2018, forex, acrylic, wood, 150 x 140 x 4 cm.
07 – Warriors, Apocalypse/Beatus serie, 2018, digital print, 120 x 108 cm.
08 – Grey Striped Window, 2020, wood, acrylic, plexiglass, 56 x 47 x 8 cm.
09 – Exhibition view : solo exhibition Babel, Alphabet performance, 2022, Museum of Art, curator Bogdan Iacob, Cluj-Napoca (RO).
10 – Purple Circles, 2020, forex, acrylic, wood, 153 x 151 x 4 cm.
11 – Table, Equilibrium serie, 2017, wood, acrylic, 150 x 55 x 34 cm.
12 – Exhibition view : group exhibition, Art on Stage, 2018, Art Safari, curator Herve Mikaeloff, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Bucharest (RO).
13 – Brown Bubble Window, 2020, wood, acrylic, plexiglass, 60 x 50 x 6 cm.
14 – Exhibition view : duo exhibition Frame, 2020, with Carlos Caballero, Sector1 Gallery, curator Domenico de Chirico, Bucharest (RO).
15 – Blue Letters, forex, acrylic, wood, 180 x 180 x 4 cm.
16 – Royal Blue Window, 2020, wood, acrylic, plexiglass, 45 x 30 x 12 cm.
17 – Anatomy, 2014, video, Bucharest (RO).
18 – Exhibition view : group exhibition Artdoor, 2018, instalation Architectures, curators Mircea Cantor and Attila Akim, Gornesti, (RO).
19 – Soldier, Apocalypse/Beatus serie, 2018, digital photography.
20 – Exhibition view : duo exhibition Frame, 2020, with Carlos Caballero, Sector1 Gallery, curator Domenico de Chirico, Bucharest (RO).
21 – Green Cross Window, 2020, wood, acrylic, plexiglass, 44 x 44 x 8 cm.
22 – Detail of "Colors", 2019, forex, acrylic, wood, 200 x 200 x 5,5 cm.
23 – Exhibition view : solo exhibition, Comedia, 2015, Kub Muzette, Art On Display Project, Bucharest (RO).
24 – Double Geometric Structures, 2013, acrylic, wood, 200 x 130 x 2,5 cm / 140 x 130 x 2,5 cm.
25 – Black and Green Stripped Window, 2020, wood, acrylic, plexiglass, 55 x 47 x 8 cm.
26 – Exhibition view : solo exhibition, Vault, 2018, Baril Gallery, Center of Interest, Cluj-Napoca (RO).
27 – Exhibition view : solo exhibition Red Door, performance, 2018, Creart Gallery, curator Eugen Radescu, Bucharest (RO).
28 – Exhibition view : solo exhibition Studio / Structures, 2013, Anexa MNAC, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, curator Ruxandra Balaci, Bucharest (RO).
29 – Taupe Circles, 2018, forex, acrylic, wood, 140 x 120 x 4 cm.
30 – Exhibition view : solo exhibition Vault, 2018, Baril Gallery, Center of Interest, Cluj-Napoca (RO).
31 – Green Striped Window, 2020, wood, acrylic, plexiglass 50 x 50 x 7,5 cm.
32 – The Guardian, Apocalypse in the studio serie, 2020, digital photography.
Arantxa Etcheverria was born in France in 1975, she's living in Romania since 2006.
She studied visual art at Villa Arson in Nice, and scenography and costumes at the National Theatre of Strasbourg.
Arantxa Etcheverria :