Abstract painting with pink and black

Punta Norte (2008), Ruben Alterio

Argentinian artist Ruben Alterio is known for his large-scale abstract paintings, created in his Parisian studio, two floors up from the one once inhabited by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. We speak to the artist ahead of his upcoming exhibition at the Argentine Ambassador’s Residence in London
Artist portrait

Artist Ruben Alterio

1. Do you need a particular atmosphere or environment in which to create?

Yes, I do. To work properly, I need to be in my studio in Paris. I have been working there for decades now and have created, over these years, an atmosphere that allows my mind to fully focused, a set up that inspires me a lot.

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2. What inspires you to start a new painting?

My working space is filled with objects, sculptures, photographs, paintings, images that I have created or gathered. I get my inspiration from these shapes and colours that surround me. I must have created that environment with that intention I guess…I collect these images and artefacts because they bear some formal and historical aspects that I can use in my paintings.

Artist studio filled with artefacts and paintings

Alterio’s studio is located in the same building that Renoir once worked from

3. Can you tell us about the concept for your upcoming exhibition?

It is the gallery, the space in itself that gave me the idea for the exhibition. I wanted to create a crowd of paintings, a group of 21 paintings to be precise. This is to be seen as an installation, a stage occupied by 21 painted-beings welcoming the viewer into their personal journey.

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4. As well as painting, you’ve worked on set and costume design, and collaborated with major fashion brands. How does your creative process change when you’re making commercial work?

I’ve had the chance to collaborate with amazing, creative people all along my career. It has always been a pleasure to share and work with such people that trust you and your vision. My creative process doesn’t change that much, it’s mainly a matter of adaptation. Whether it’s in my personal work or in collaboration, the goal is always to create a window for me, and I hope the viewers, [through which] to escape.

 

Abstract artwork

Flores (2016), Ruben Alterio

5. How often do you throw away works?

I throw sometimes, yes, but I usually prefer to consider these works as part of a work in progress, which, as a matter of fact they are. I keep them because it’s always interesting to let time do its magic and look at them [again] after a while. Time can bring many surprising elements to my work.

6. Which artists from the past or present do you admire the most?

Velázquez, Piero Della Francesca, Picasso and Francis Bacon.

Ruben Alterio’s exhibition at the Argentine Ambassador’s Residence runs from 4-8 November 2019, 49 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8QZ. Entrance by appointment only. rubenalterio.com

Ruben Alterio is represented in the UK by Laurence Bet-Mansour of Art in Style. For all enquiries, please contact: [email protected]