Alain Urrutia

Bilbao, 1981


Alain Urrutia premieres Memento in this exhibition, a mosaic installation of new and recovered images presented in period circular and oval frames that explores the notion of individual and collective memory. From the Latin memento, which means “to remember,” Urrutia studies the construction of memories based on fragmental recollection and the power of images to create stories. Taking inspiration from Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne (1929)—an atlas of images whose name alludes to the Greek goddess of memory called Mnemosyne—Urrutia’s pictures create a new reading of a collective reality. Each of these frames date from the 1960s and were gathered by the artist over several years to complete the forty objects on view to signal his age. Urrutia intends to continue adding a new piece each year to mark the passing of time, thereby maintaining this work alive. He kept some of the original prints from the found frames, and created his own invented scenes embodying a myriad of subject matters. Painted in his typical monochromatic palette, his black and white paintings evoke both intimate and collective memories that poetically link the past, present, and future.