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Curator: Jorge Cañete

11th of October - 29th of November 2019

Vernissage : 10th of October 18h00-22h00

Pavillon de Pourtalès, Chartreuse de La Lance

CH - 1426 Concise (Vaud)


To celebrate eleven years in a row in ANDREW MARTIN's book, which each year selects the worl's top 100 best designers, JORGE CAÑETE proposed to the artist BEÑAT OLABERRIA to create eleven works "in situ", inspired by his latest work, a house located in Extremadura (Spain), where we meet the shadow of the conquistadors. The project is called "Blood"


When I was first approached with the idea of an exhibition by Jorge Cañete in relation to his project “Sangre”, I expected it would be difficult to find a connection between my work and Jorge´s project. A project based in Extremadura and its 15th century “conquistadores” who travelled the seas in order to discover new lands and colonise cultures in the name of wealth, God and religion. How was I going to fit in that picture? I could not think about anything more opposite to who and what I am.

Soon, I discovered there where real connections and I was able to draw some similitudes when I found an easy way to relate to these conquistadores in a metaphorical way. All of us driven by a hunger for the unknown, there is an obvious attraction to the journey as an active decision to keepgoing without thinking about the end result. A pure act of discovery, evolution and a most needed exercise of fulfilling one´s existential needs. I could also surprisingly relate to the landscapes of Extremadura. Bold, vast, dry and desert landscapes where its simplified purity and its extreme rawness can generate an overwhelming experience. Hopefully, through my work I also offer internal and emotional landscapes to generate that encounter.


Jorge´s projects is about blood, red and fresh but also black and dry. Dry black blood as a record of the conquering battles. Black blood as a trace of the journey and its demanding experience. Similarly to all the marks that I make in my creative process, where the stains, lines and gestures will necessarily be present, no matter how painful or wrong they seem.


Finally, all of it beautifully framed by Domaine de la Chartreuse de Lance and this building, a place full of history and character, a perfect counter-balance to my abstract and monochromatic art. In this exhibition I bring eleven pieces, most of which I made “in situ” as a reaction to this unique space. Borrowing a theological and philosophical reference, I could say that I created Ex-Materia, by putting together objects and elements found in this special surrounding to create something new from existing matter. I have created ex-materia not only by picking up what I could physically found around me, I also included in this process and project my emotional circumstances and the intensity of the now and the here.

Nervous pencil lines, thick acrylic paint, dirt and charcoal enable Beñat to offer linear and interstitial spaces of his mind, traces of intimate moments of time and space which refuse representation by escaping visual description and verbal fixation.

With works that are expressive of the process of making them and operate at an emotional level rather than through meaning and/or through representational content, his approach could be described as the doing the mark-making rather than the mark-making itself.

Beñat constructs pieces that are aesthetically self-sufficient and true to his logic and visual language whilst presents unsureness, unspecificity and incompleteness in meaning. These are pieces open to multiple interpretations which do not demand understanding from its audience although can generate an experience, an exchange from the encounter which could be a place to generate feelings.

Originally from the Basque country in Northern Spain, Beñat Olaberria is a London based artist graduated from City and Guilds from London Art School with an MA in Fine Art. With a non impressionistic, non narrative and non reductive approach to making Beñat´s practice explores the unknown territories of his mind.


Like in an unplanned walk, he is interested in constructing abstract pieces as a reaction to his first nervous, unplanned and impulsive mark-making until the desired balance is achieved though his visual logic and personal language.

Beñat has participated in numerous group exhibitions around the UK and his work can be found in private collections across Europe and USA. He is currently focused on his first solo shows in Barcelona and Switzerland.

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