Transformation - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

Buy image


Zuriarrain, Ramón

San Sebastián, 26/10/1948

Watercolour on paper

101.8 x 218 cm

Zuriarrain (bottom right hand corner of every panel)


Last quarter of the 20th century


Acquired in 1981

Ramón Zuriarrain was originally associated with the kind of Surrealist-inspired painting found in the work of other artists from Gipuzkoa, like Vicente Ameztoy, Juan Luis Goenaga and Marta Cárdenas. However, Zuriarrain, who trained at the School of Fine Arts in Paris, took a very different path, alternating periods of pure Abstract Expressionism with others of narrative figuration. One of the most important features of his work has been his concern with change and mutability. Experimentation is present in his entire production, applied in a range of materials, formats and themes. He constantly returns to the poetic and aesthetic recreation of his surroundings. His creative imagination, together with his mastery of drawing and colour, allows him to produce compositions of great personality.

He transforms the imaginary into the real and vice versa, seeking to reflect man's difficulty in nailing his own feelings. When he returns to the landscape, in his large paintings, he employs abstract forms, colour and gesture to organize the space. Using studied contrasts he constructs his highly expressive scenarios, which, on occasion, suggest forms and figures. The portrait is another of his frequent themes, which he resolves subjectively with irony and humour, regularly doing self-portraits. Commitment, dialogue and communication with the spectator are the watchwords of Zuriarrain's painting.

In a sequence of six panels called Transformation, he unveils the progressive conversion of a flowerpot stand into a female figure. In a format unusual for its size in watercolour, Zuriarrain recreates a troubling scenario where, with enigmatic intent, he manages to make a dream world out of the most immediate reality. Small formal variations and the translucent play of his brushwork suggest the movement from the interior to the exterior world. [Arantxa Pereda]

Selected bibliography

  • "R. Zuriarrain", Galería Recalde, n° 7. 4 de mayo de 1978. p. 1, il.
  • Artistas vascos entre el realismo y la figuración, 1970-1982 [Cat. exp.]. Madrid, Ayuntamiento de Madrid, 1982. p. 33.
  • "R. Zuriarrain", Galeria Recalde, n° 7. 1978eko lorailla 4ean. p. 1, il.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 177.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. p. 177.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 177, n° cat. 98.
  • Ramón Zuriarrain : miss mundos [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2013. p. 137.