Permanent Collection

José María Yturralde

Cuenca, 1942

In the late 1960s a diverse group of artists who shared an interest in producing a type of technological, geometrical and kinetic abstraction emerged in Valencia around the art critic Vicente Aguilera Cerni. It was at this point that Yturralde embarked on a mode of geometrical abstract painting that shared aspects of op art and would now be described as minimalist. Expanding and developing his ideas at the Seminar for the Analysis and Automatic Generation of Visual Forms of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid’s Calculus Center, in the 1970s he started to work on a series of impossible geometrical figures and to produce buoyant structures that could be flown in the manner of kites. In general, and regardless of whatever label is applied to it, Yturralde’s work is characterized by pure color, precise forms and the appearance of movement.

"Figuras imposibles" [Impossible Figures], 1973
Figuras imposibles [Impossible Figures], 1973

In the "impossible figures" represented in this painting, Yturralde makes use of the paradoxes of visual perception that were analyzed by Gestalt psychologists. This oblique perspective of four, simple L-shaped geometrical figures encourages the viewer’s brain to interpret these identical elements as volumetric figures that seem to come close or move away, a visual effect achieved by the subtle graduations of the shading. However, this perceptual illusion is contradicted by geometrical logic, and the viewer is surprised by the impossibility of the figures in the real world.

Javier Maderuelo

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Catálogo del Museu Fundación Juan March, Palma de Mallorca.