Life Forms 304
Pello Irazu's work constitutes an essential contribution to the language of contemporary constructive sculpture and he is considered, along with Txomin Badiola, one of the key figures in the renewal of Basque and Spanish sculpture since the 1980s. This generation of artists dedicated themselves to rewriting the syntax of sculpture from a perspective rooted in the Modern tradition in order to break down the myths of history and recompose, in the present, some of its formal inventions. This action sought forms and discourses adapted to a moment of crisis in both representation and ornamentation. Irazu is an almost essentialist sculptor. The accuracy in the evolution of his forms, from the poetry of right angles to the lyricism of apparently amassed material, makes him an architect of interpreted situations. In fact, the sculptor acts through a technical alphabet of gestures that have evolved from the pure presence of the object in his early works to the construction of environments where relations between object, image, and context answer to an articulated logic, as in Life Forms 304 (2003).
Life Forms 304 is an installation specifically conceived for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao's collection. The piece takes part of its title from the space for which it was designed, Gallery 304. The room as a space to live in is defined by a mural that covers the entire wall with a line, like a discontinuous corridor, on which drawings/objects hang while dialectically fighting for their space. In the centre there is a sculpture that looks inviting from the front, but this impression crumbles as soon as one glimpses the side view, where a multitude of angles, tensions, and forces appear, giving the impression that the construction maintains a precarious but studied balance. Irazu rejects the idea of space as a mere container in which objects can be placed, conceiving of it rather as a mediating element between the viewer and the work of art.
Life Forms 304 insists on the duality of object and setting, which are here clearly differentiated. The constructive element that occupies the central part of the space rises up like the skeleton of a superficial and relatively unstable protective element. The combination of metal, wood, plywood, and colored elements translates the logic of the assembly, a constructive and necessarily architectural principle.