In 2019, the Botín Centre celebrates the 25th anniversary of Itineraries, the annual exhibition that displays the work of the artists awarded the Botín Foundation’s Visual Arts Grant each year, which has been running since 1993.
Awed creatures, framed in breakable soul rooms in a surreal world. That’s the artistic handwriting by Tesfaye Urgessa in a few words. Art-historical references to Francis Bacon, Egon Schiele or Lucien Freud are obvious, but not the central explanation of his artworks. The intensive biographical references are the heart of Urgessas complex and artworks.
For his creative education Tesfaye Urgessa went from Ethiopia to Stuttgart. Far away from home he is confronted with racism, being a stranger in an other culture and inequality. All these bad feelings and incidents are represented and reprocessed in his huge artworks in oil on canvas, without any drawing study.
The shy protagonists on his paintings are truly naked. Not only the physical nudeness but also the rough painting technique makes the creatures appear afraid and fearful.
Beside the narrative force there is the balance between the hard and soft forming, Balance zwischen schwerer und leichter Formgebung, bright and dark colors, concrete and abstract moments, which constitute an unmistakable style.
– Elisa Hornacek / Evelyn Drewes Gallery