In the Bustle of an always incomplete Prosperity

Ángel Urrely’s Art

/ 1 September, 2016

(…) A Cuban 6.1 ft. tall, born in Havana in 1971, Ángel migrates to the Dominican Republic in 1999, with Cuba and 365 bicycles pedaling on his head and his sketch notebooks. Since his first exhibition in Santo Domingo, Fuga sobre la Marcha (Escape on the March), he presents his work as a careful and unique cabinet de curiosités. Made by sketches with hoops and pedals he arms, disarms and rearms with sails, skis, oars, umbrellas and so on, driven by propeller motors, with which he flies, slides on the ice or in the water of his Havana.

Work by Ángel Urrely keeps a constant formal result: the thorough composition of heteroclite elements the artist conceives in sketches built with method, precision and imagination. Ángel goes to life, takes life to art and gives life to art. His work is extraction, not abstraction. He finds the straw in the grain. Ángel first establishes a scrupulous inventory of the social matter with which he works. He fills a diary with secondary news. They gather without any relationship at all and without great  importance apart from that of the moment. Angel takes those clippings from newspapers and rewrites the news on them: he draws it, jots it down, researches it, makes collages on it with other news. He adds his own thoughts, connecting events presented as fait-divers, with their deep motifs, with their consequences, with their collateral causes and effects, with their clandestine historicity. (…)

It is in 2007 that Ángel’s production acquired a decisive maturing, lifting up a structured bestiary, a macrocosm of constituting elements assisting to the formation of a concatenated and non-exclusive universe. His formula is linking through visual art 1) the accumulated conditions of deprivation (hunger, shortage, scarcity suitable to the world of poverty), and 2) with the demand of a society attributing social importance according to the possession of material patrimonies. For some, those who have, what is crucial is to show; for others, those who do not have, is the hunt to obtain those resources investing dignity (“respectability” assigned by society) to those owning them. For all, the reduction of mankind to its coarsest and fiercest primitivism, that which raises the level of importance to those that should be “mere instruments.” From there on, the figures that Ángel’s put on the bucolic cows, indigested and patched up with numbers, emerge, and become territories in dispute, and by cuts, as if in a butcher’s auction. An organized and stimulated cannibalism, with social anthropophagy, attending to volume, number, measure, so as to express the importance of being in a society that only acknowledges brute force, male virility. In short, Ángel builds a bestiary of the costumes with which that always incomplete prosperity wraps up. (…)

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