Ignacio Uriarte:
'The History of the Typewriter Recited by Michael Winslow'

Thu 21 January – Sat 20 March, 2010. Barcelona

The History of the Typewriter Recited by Michael Winslow

NoguerasBlanchard is pleased to announce the second gallery exhibition of Ignacio Uriarte (Krefeld, Germany, 1972) and the presentation of his latest film The History of the Typewriter Recited by Michael Winslow. Known as the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects” for his ability to make realistic sound impersonations using only his voice and mostly remembered for his role in the Police Academy movies, Winslow re-enacts the clickety-clack of typing machines from the 1870s to the 1980s in a homage to “a sound which is part of the soundtrack of our lives”.

Ignacio Uriarte’s most pronounced reflection on the dialectic between man and machine, this work shows the human struggle to imitate technology. After listening to the sounds of over three thousand typewriters from the Schreibmaschinenmuseum in Partschins, Switzerland and the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin, the artist digitally recorded 68 models for Winslow to impersonate. As the actor is only able to reproduce 32 models, his strain exposes the limitations of the human voice and questions, from a position of ambiguity, the role of the machine in modern society: does it celebrate it as a tool of human organization and a triumph over nature or is it critical of its quest to gradually replace the human brain and thus force people into automatic responses and rigid patterns.

Ignacio Uriarte began his professional life with a career in business administration. Understanding the probabilities offered to him by cubicle life, he diverted his practice for a career in fine art and developed his discourse around a particular semantic field: the office environment. Every concievable material or gesture one might associate with the business workplace such as biro pens, A4s, Microsoft Excel, Xerox machines and writing blocs are deftly administered like a painter using a color spectrum. The systematic repetition and serialization encapsulated in Uriarte’s working method re-enact the myth of Sisyphus, a metaphor for modern man’s futile and repetitive labour.

Drawing from a history of conceptual practices from the ’60s and ’70s, artists like Sol LeWitt, Hanne Darboven and Robert Ryman are filtered through the roller ball of a Bic pen as the behavioral aesthetics of office tedium are converted into vertiginous monochromes, color studies and haptic doodles. Uriarte achieves a delicate balance between analog and digital which becomes a painfully present lexicon analyzing how the machine is capable of replicating something human -such as an error- and the human something mechanical like a perfect form.

A selection of recent exhibitions include El tiempo que venga, Colección IX, ARTIUM, Vitoria-Gasteiz (2009); As Simple As a Line or a Circle, Laboratorio987, MUSAC, León (2008); Atasco de papel, “Inéditos”, Obra Social, Caja Madrid, Madrid (2008); Trabajos en serie. Dibujo y vídeo. Centro Huarte de Arte Contemporáneo, Pamplona (2008); 1ª Mostra della nueva collezione FRAC Piemonte, Arca, Chiesi di Santo Marco, Vercelli, Italy (2008); Der Autorität, Kunstverein, Arnsberg, Germany (2008); El dibujo por delante, CGAC, Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2007); Mirador07, Intermediae/Matadero, Madrid, (2007); Processos Oberts 4, Terrassa (2007). He has received fellowships from Fundación Marcelino Botín Production Grant for Visual Arts, Santander, Spain (2008), MUSAC, León (2006) and CAM Artistic Creation Grant (2007). He currently lives and works in Berlin.