Untitled - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

Buy image

Untitled – 04/16

Díez Alaba, Mikel

Bilbao, 10/09/1947

Oil on canvas

162 x 130 cm

DIÉZ ALABA (lower right half)


Last quarter of the 20th century


Donated by Begoña Ezpeleta Viguera in 2004

Díez Alaba, a contemporary of Ameztoy and Nagel, first came to notice in the early 1970s with British-influenced figurative paintings (Bacon and Hockney come to mind) that unreservedly criticised the customs and values and indeed the members of the bourgeoisie. Soon, however, his work underwent a considerable change. He eliminated the figure and devoted himself to an abstract art that violently described urban structures: visions of the city through transparent, architectural-looking blocks that frame black, red, white and yellow features, set down with all the irrational impetus of action painting. All these elements go towards the creation of a metaphor of the dramatic bustle that fills the streets and buildings of a place about which we are given no references. Occasionally, some recognisable image, like the cinema screen that appears in Untitled, gives a clue to the nature of these wide shots: a metropolis in the grip of the harsh night and existential disconnectedness of film noir. This was one of the paintings that helped to produce the shift away from issues of identity in previous Basque art and make it permeable to influences from popular urban culture. [Javier Viar]

Selected bibliography

  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 170-171.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 170-171.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 170-171, n° cat. 94a.