Fabian Ugalde

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Fabian Ugalde,

Querétaro, México, 1967

The biggest challenge for an artist of Ugalde´s generation, who initiated his career at the end of the XX century not only consists in afírmate a distinctive proposal in times where globalization has homogenized the cultural identities in the artistic world, but to conquer the “peripheral” condition of Mexico against the “center” governed by Europe and USA, gained by international art fairs, and these in turn sustained by Neo and post constructs and theories. Hence that the questioning of factors by which some of the works of art of the second half of the XX century acquire an iconic character, had been assumed by Ugalde as the central matter of his work, and, in a certain way by his generation.

Some of the works of art that entered to the museum in the last decades of the XX century, and that where recorded in the collective memory for its media attraction, are for Ugalde signs of his time, just as the mechanisms ofthe official taste configuration that characterizes his historical moment; in the same way that the works of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael were the paragons of the Italian renaissance and this at its time configured the western world back then.

How ever, given that most of the art works that Ugalde “puts in evidence” where already criticized as banalities of the consumerism society, his own criticism would be redundant

if he didn't obviate that said works were already consumed by the consumerism society and, that given their lack of aesthetic attributes properly said, he would not show the banality of the minds of those who acquire them and admire them. Therefore, the real trigger of the virtuosity of Ugalde´s work is not the criticism of the art from the art but the display of a huge imagination joined with the grace that refuses other conceptual proposals. 

So, at risk to jumbling with the chord of significations, Ugalde turns upside down the theories that have given sustain to works of artists that, like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Piero Manzoni, Christopher Wool, Jenny Holzer, Gabriel Orozco and Paul McCarthy among others, have prolonged the pop art until turning it the classic for excellence of the XX century and what is running of the XXI. If this artists added something to the legacy of Marcel Duchamp, whose theoretical support they share at all costs, or if is used as a medium to acquire fortune without questioning the nature of art itself (as Joseph Kozuth wanted) are some of the conditions that make Ugalde´s work both as inquiring as amusing.

Just like the Pop Art appropriated both comics and cartoons, Ugalde uses them as a vehicle to “appropriate the alien” and mix it up with knowledge and humor, admiration and irony, parody and lyricism, in a plane where joke becomes judgment and a judgement becomes a joke. In this way what could be speculations about the persistency of pop art, gain the consistency of concepts and the articulation of these, gain the weight of a discurse over a “world” where a vacuum machine is presented in a museum in the same category as a master work of the history of art. 

This is how through a succinct and outlined figuration, filled with plane and bright colors, with a basic spatial depth to give some formal motive, Ugalde proposes a form of “appropiationism” that in contrast with the one from north America in the 80s, doesn't make identical versions of famous works of art, but quotes them through schemes obtained from photographies downloaded from the internet, to print them as patterns that are later organized as stencils to use over a plastic screen and apply to them inks or vinyl mate paint.

His works are not gestures that declare work of art an image belonging to another artist, but a virtual weft whose value depends entirely on how famous or valuable that work of art is, implying that after Duchamp nothing or almost nothing has been added to his definition of the identity of art. From there, that Ugalde transits through the history of western art of the second half of the XX century as if it was a landscape of attributions and artifices from which, he extracts images with an admiring tone confused with derision.

In  more recent pieces such as Da Vinci Expandido (2016), Ugalde symmetrizes and recomposes, through precise cuts guided by a reticule, the portrait of the Monalisa in an attempt to come back to the origin of beauty which would imply a regression to the mathematical order: The symmetry, the rhythm, the proportion, etc. as an option that gives certainty to the fading of the aesthetic parameters in art.

Manet Expandido (2016) and Grant Wood Expandido (2015) deliberately emulate the effect of some reflective pieces of Anish Kapoor where the image of the spectator is distorted when is multiplied in an infinity of diminutive hexagonal mirrors, Said distortion is employed by Ugalde as a metaphor, both in the anomalous relation of the history of art with the contemporary art, as in the frequent difficulty that the spectator has today to find it self reflected in the object of art.