Ignacio Uriarte’s Office Art

I came across Berlin-based artist Ignacio Uriarte’s work at Art Basel and quickly became fascinated by the story behind the work and the artist. Before quitting his day job to become a full-time artist Uriarte worked in business administration, but his transition into art did not veer to far from his daily regimen. Instead he reconfigured the mundane rhythms of administrative activity into what he calls “Office Art”. Using only tools such as Bic pens, highlighters, inkjets printers, typewriters and other things you may find in an office he creates conceptual works of monotony.

About Typewriter works above: These drawings filter the work of the painters I am interested in, e.g. Reinhardt, Ryman, Martin, Stella, Marden, through the limited typographic possibilities of my Adler typewriter. They also interpret each letter’s symbolical meaning and sculptural qualities through particular figures and patterns.

Above: The four standard colors of a Bic pen have significantly shaped the chromatic range inside the office. Since an office employee can not mix new colors, his creative freedom in the use of colors is quite restricted. What he could do is scribble colors next to or on top of each other and that´s exactly what the series of drawings does. It shows the six possible combinations between the four colors and their mix through superposition.

above : What appears to be a labyrinth is a single circular line that is drawn with no other compositional intention than filling up the space of an Excel-sheet in a regular manner. No matter where you start reading it, you travel through the whole sheet until you get to the point where you started. The making of the line follows very basic predetermined rules and is comparable to the act of knitting.

above: Five pens of different brands (Staedtler, Parker, Pilot, Bic and Milan) produce monochrome drawings, which describe the specific moment of their creation through a range of irregularities, and reveal each brand´s perception / interpretation of the same colour: the ‘standard office blue’.

above: White paged blocs often include a template with squares on one side and lines on the other that serve as a writing aid.
The first drawing attempts to copy the squared side of the template. The second drawing fills up all empty spaces between the lines and margins of the other template.

above: When we draw scribbles, we not only represent a free impulse or the natural movement of our wrist, but we subconsciously also use preconfigured shapes and patterns. These become the subject of analysis in this matrix. To the left there are round spiral scribbles, to the right there are squared spiral scribbles. Every drawing has a particular intensity as a mix of the applied time/layers and the pen tip’s thickness (0.1-0.8 mm).

above: A monochrome drawing is made with each of the Castell 9000 series pencils, fifteen in total, covering a full greyscale with every possible lead hardness from 6h to 8b. Beyond the tonal sequence and the effects of the different lead-types on the trace, the human and time-bound component of routine is made evident through a range of non-intentional irregularities.

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