On some occasions, trying to penetrate Alain Urrutia’s painting, I have felt I was invading an uninhabited palace. Everything seems the same, but an emptiness stands out, that of an eternally still past, in suspension. A living present that is absent but imminent. A sort of fragment, which, as Friedrich Schlegel pointed out in a letter to his brother August Wilhelm, “is the true form of universal philosophy”. Not for no reason Novalis stated that only the incomplete can allow us to advance in the task of knowledge. Also that when we dream we are dreaming we are close to waking. As well as thinkers like Nietzsche, who will grant priority to the incomplete as an artistic quality. Therefore the incomplete is like a wound of the image, like another zone of darkness, like a sleepwalking gaze.
Alain Urrutia moves forward towards discord, from deviation. Doubt corrupts the gaze, which allows itself to be crossed by the idea. Time is accumulated, cloistered. His paintings are made in a rapid process, but are slow to be received. The scale matters little; when it stands out it is solved fearlessly, through flexibility; when it shrinks the response is precise, playing almost magically with modulations of colour from a very limited range of colours.
It is tempting to set out some referents like Luc Tuymans or Michäel Borremans as a starting point. From both of these, as will also happen in artists like Wilhelm Sasnal, he takes that which Jordan Kantor defined as the aesthetic of the technical failure or the aesthetic of the no talent, a strategy worked on in formal and conceptual terms. Also the concept of the incomplete, something which Tuymans and some of his followers have managed to show either by painting figuratively or diagrammatically. Or the somewhat uncomfortable corporality and strange of truncated bodies and useless gestures which have characterised Borremans. But very few sentences could so well designate Alain Urrutia’s pictorial work as the one that Cézanne wrote to Joachim Gasquet before his death: “I am still seeking the sensation of those confused impressions we bring at birth”. These are the words of a Cézanne without strength, but still capable of exuding feelings. Cézanne appealed to the sensitive, and was very clear in his time that others would do with faces what Monet had done with landscape. He was certainly not thinking about Bacon, or about Alain Urrutia, obviously, but his particular capacity to imagine a more agitated way of painting is also obvious.