ARCO invited artist Alvaro Urbano (b. 1983, Madrid, Spain) to present an installation for the Special Project 2020 of the fair. Hands as Drawers, 2019, was first created for an exhibition at Forum d’art contemporain, Casino Luxembourg. The work explores the psychological potential of the domestic home, as a parallel to the many facets of the human psyche. Urbano presented his individual domestic environment or “room”, using few elements such as a closed window, an ashtray with cigarettes bearing lipstick traces, cardboard boxes and letters scattered across the floor, a dying plant. All the element are made by the artist using paper with printed textures or hand-painted metal. Camouflaging themselves in their given locations these elements address relationships, dialogues, and conflicts between reality and fiction. This room forms a metaphorical collage of a house that brings to life the emotional resonance of our most private spaces. The unique spatial and multi-sensorial experience that is at once familiar and surreal will in turn, trigger personal associations, memories and emotions that are held deep within ourselves.

In his larger practice, Urbano investigates the latent emotions and memories – both collective and private – within architectural spaces, often creating narratives in which fiction and history collide.
Alvaro Urbano’s practice embraces a variety of media, from film, performance to spatial installations that unfold throughout an experimental process with a strong interest in architecture, fiction, and heterotopia. Urbano’s often site-specific installations consider the space and the public as possible actors or co-authors of a narration.

Photos by Trevor Lloyd