Carlos Irijalba: Stranger in London

Launch Pad is pleased to announce a new site-specific commission, “Stranger in London” by Carlos Irijalba. The piece will inaugurate the new residence of Sarah Elson, Founder Launch Pad. An In Conversation between the artist and Paul Hobson, Director, Modern Art Oxford will take place on February 13th 2019.

Carlos Irijalba is a Spanish artist, based in New York City and Amsterdam. His interest in geological time, evolutionary history, and the human relationship to these larger time and space spectrums, take shape in a practice that includes sculpture, film and photo-based media. Finding commonalities between the compositional structures of our natural physical world and those produced by industrial means, Irijalba draws on the capabilities of new materials and methods— metal foam which mimics the structure of bones, or scanning technology used to create fibre glass replicas of prehistoric caves, to make work that conceptually compresses time and space into one meditative form.

Recently, Irijalba’s solo exhibition at Galeria Moises Perez de Albeniz, Madrid, featured a series of sculptures titled ‘Strange Stranger’ resembling internal organs that snaked around the gallery. Examining industrial technologies led the artist to the biomimetic patterns of engine exhaust pipes, and the exhibition propositioned the parallel dynamics shared by humans and their environments, technologies and crafted objects. Irijalba is interested in how human physiology permeates the constructed world, and with the title, pays homage to Timothy Morton, the ecology philosopher who used the term to describe being a stranger in the body.

For Launch Pad, Irijalba has reflected upon the history of the location in North London. A former Citroën garage, the building was redeveloped several years ago into a family home. Taking cues from this automotive heritage, “Stranger in London” has its antecedents in “strange stranger,” but will address some of the more particular details of its contemporary London site. Reflecting on the trans-Atlantic, peripatetic life of its owner and the artist himself, Irijalba has selected engine manifolds from European and US engines. On one end of the spectrum, an 80’s BMW M5 Turbo manifold, gut-like, abject and tightly structured by the small European engine housing, on the other, a General Motors Pick Up RAM design, streamlined, ample and expansive. The two systems appear to wind through the house, suggesting a constant exchange of energy between two very different continents. They operate metaphorically as conduits for the ebb and flow of genetic origins, immigration, travel, and a life lived with a foot on each side of the Atlantic. The installation will traverse indoor and outdoor space, and through horizontal and vertical surfaces, making itself subtly but determinedly present in the structural fabric of the house.

Carlos Irijalba (b 1979), a former resident at the Rijksakademie of Amsterdam 2013/2014, graduated from the Basque Country University and UDK Berlin in 2004. He is a recipient of numerous international awards, including the Guggenheim Bilbao Photography Grant (2003), the Marcelino Botín Art Grant (2007/08), and the Shifting Foundation Grant. More recently, Irijalba has been included the Guangdong Triennial (2017), and in group shows at CAB Art Center, Brussels; Centro Botin, Santander, Spain; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia.