Luis Úrculo

Artist selected by López Munuera, Iván at 2010
More artist content updated at 2016

I no longer know what architecture is or what an architect does. A project offers a complex web of possibilities, multiple unforeseen chapters to create a new research focus. I’m interested in the peripheral side to architecture, the processes, developments and approaches that can be manipulated, sampled and translated to other scales and adapted to the work as it takes shape.


1. What made you choose art as a profession?
It happened accidentally or naturally. I don’t really know. It refined or warped my original background in architecture. It was a direct result of what wasn’t meant to be.

2. How would you define your work?
An exploration of coincidence, accidents, essential and complex things. Vindications of time, noise and inner spaces. A deceleration of contemporary life, everyday life in slow motion, almost a parody, ridiculous, poetic.

3. What subjects are you interested in?
Mistakes, imperfections, low resolution. Instantaneous things, unconscious design, shoddy work. Unstable, ephemeral things, things that expire. Malleable, flexible, democratically controlled things.

4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
Drawing and using different base materials. Household materials. Samplers of faraway uses and situations.

5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
In some cases, they’re distant, vague, hazy sketches of domestic life at a certain distance. Reproductions of scenes experienced in places far removed from the project. I work with the materials and resources I have to hand, including found books to paperclips, post-it notes, sellotape, wool and car headlamps.

6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
It’s another means for developing a language. Sometimes it’s just another label to justify results. An archive of lost cases.

7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
I’m interested in free interpretations of ideas – the further from the original intention, the better. By destroying the original meaning, you release ideas that let the work take shape. I’m not aiming at any specific audience.

8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I studied architecture, a long degree course which gave me enough time to question what I was doing on a circuit obsessed with bricks and mortar which had nothing to do with my own interests. When I won a scholarship to Chicago, I started research into video and drawing through space and built space. The best thing about studying architecture was its rigorous approach. The rest, experiences.

9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
It’s still at the first chapter; I’ve only just started. I’m still choosing the tools, materials and processes for carrying out my work, although this stage never ends. Or at least I hope so. In the future I hope to have more time for high-risk work, work we carry out without being commissioned. I’d like to have the security of being able to make a living from this.

10. Many artists say it’s difficult to make a living from their work; how do economic considerations affect you when it comes to work? Do you think this has a bearing on your work?
It can limit production of work, in that you have to spend more time doing work designed to meet your economic needs. Economic factors can reduce the timescale and results for a project and determine the base material or final format that ideas take on.

11. What do you look for or expect from your relationship with promoters and curators? What advantages and difficulties have you found with these relationships?
I expect them to open up more opportunities for me to carry out more work on a greater scale in new spaces, which should help enrich my ideas. I’ve not had much experience in my short career, but so far it’s been positive.

12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
Every city always has something that determines its attitude, energy, way of interacting with people… but that’s very intangible. I don’t know what Madrid’s got, but I feel very comfortable here. Perhaps it’s its rough, aggressive, unsophisticated side. On the down side, there’s lots of demand for support and creative spaces, not many opportunities and little organisation – all of which makes for precarious living, like on safari.


Curriculum vitae

Luis Urculo
Madrid, 1978.
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and Works in: Madrid.


Formación Académica/Education
Arquitectura & Cine, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.
Arquitectura & Cine, Institute of Desing, Chicago.


Arquitecto Superior, Escuela Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, E.T.S.A.M., Madrid.


Exposiciones Individuales/Solo Exhibitions
Sleeping with Elvis, The Popular Workshop, San Francisco.


Blackout, Galería La Permanente, Madrid.
The thrill is gone, Poligono Gallery, Málaga.


Alfombras Residuales, La Casa Encendida, Madrid.
False Memories, Galería Espacio Valverde, Madrid.
Viagra, Cialis, Rolex Watch, Fabrica Features, Lisboa.


O, Galeria Dama Aflita, Porto.


Exposiciones Colectivas/Group Exhibitions
Sabichao, Galeria Dama Aflita, Porto.
IV Encuentro Internacional de Arte & Performance, Tabacalera, Madrid.
Architecture Film Festival Rótterdam, Nederland.
Una aventura de lineas, Galeria Eva Ruiz, Madrid
JAE, American Institute of Architects. Washington DC.; Instituto Cervantes, Chicago.
MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo, Roma.
YAPP, Young Architecs Program, Roma.
EME3, Festival Internacional de Arquitectura, Barcelona.
Una ciudad llamada España, Casa de los artistas, Moscow.
Mobile Museum (Fabrica), Salon Internacional del Mueble, Milano.
Efímeras, Alternativas habitables, Arquerías Nuevos Ministerios, Madrid.
JustMadrid2, Espacio Valverde, Madrid.


Colectiva, Galería Dama Aflita, Porto.
X Bienal Española de Arquitectura, Quito.
CutLog ArtFair, FIAC, Galería Espacio Valverde, Paris.
Cartográfica, Matadero Madrid.
X Bienal Española de Arquitectura, Medellín, Colombia.
Libro, Galeria Mad is Mad, Madrid.
Intervenciones en el espacio público, Galería Mediodia Chica, Madrid.
Basel Art Fair 2010, Galería EspacioValverde, Basilea.
Una ciudad llamada España, National Glyptoteque, Atenas.
Transculturelles des Abattoirs, Casablanca.
JAE, Bruxelles.
Dandy, Galería Dama Aflita, Porto.


Refresh, Universidad Europea de Madrid.
Kill your idols, Asociación Cultural Mediodía Chica, Madrid.
De lo Construido a la arquitectura sin papel, Sala de Arquerías de Nuevos Ministerios, Madrid.


De lo Construido a la arquitectura sin papel, XI Biennale di Venezia, Mostra Internazionale di Architettura, Pabellón de España, Venezia.
Jóvenes Arquitectos de España, Sala de Arquerías de Nuevos Ministerios, Madrid; Columbia University, New York.
Próxima, Museu Valencià de la Il.lustració i de la Modernitat, MuVIM, Valencia.
Poster Review, 16th Curtas Vila do Conde, Portugal.


V Bienal Iberoamericana de Montevideo, Sala de Intendencia Municipal, Montevideo.
HomemSelvagem, Galería Cozinha, Porto.


Freshmadrid, Fundación COAM, Madrid; Museo de Bogotá, Colombia.
Pareja estable. Visible, Galería Mad is Mad, Madrid.


Futuro en pausa, Construtec, IFEMA, Madrid.
35 proyectos/35 manifestaciones, instalación en BIAU, Medellín, Colombia.
Instalación permanente, Kong Gallery, Paris.


Perdedores, instalación, Casa Pasarela, Feria de Diseño de Madrid, Ifema, Madrid.


Singing Birds-Dancing Trees, instalación efímera, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MNCARS, Madrid.
Ramses, Proyecto gráfico para Philippe Starck, Madrid.


ARCO 06, instalación expositiva, Stand Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid.
Bartlebloom, instalación, Palacio Infante Don Luis, Boadilla del Monte, Madrid.


Topografía lumínica, instalación lumínica, Galapagar, Madrid.


Becas y premios/Awards and Grants
Archivo de Creadores de Madrid, Matadero Madrid. (Selección/Selected)


Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. (Beca de estudio/Scholarship Grant)
Institute of Desing, Arquitectura & Cine, Chicago. (Beca de estudio/Scholarship Grant)


Obra en Museos y Colecciones/Works in Museums and Collections
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, CAC.


Gómez, Pilar, “Emergentes”, Diseño Interior, n.206, Madrid, IX/2009, pp. 30-34.
Álvarez, Arantza, “Sala de Visitas”, Proyecto Contract, n. 55, MC Ediciones, Madrid, VI/2009, pp. 52-53.
X Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Madrid, Ministerio de Vivienda, 2009, Cat. Exp.
Caballero, Mónica, “Vida Interior”, Anuario del Diseño, n. 03, Madrid, III/2009, pp.102-103.
Gallagher, Brian, “Arquitectura Efímera”, B-Guided, n. 38, Barcelona, 1/V/2009.
La Santa, Graphic fashion. Design, illustration & trends, Barcelona, Ed. Promopress, 2009, Cat. Exp.
Aparicio, José María; Donaire, Jesús, Jóvenes Arquitectos de España, Madrid, Ministerio de Vivienda, 2008, Cat. Exp.
Dolberth, Julio, “Real People”, PARQ, n. 04, Conforto Moderno Uni, Lda, Lisboa, V/2008, pp.12-13.
Fernández Alba, Ángel; del Pino, Soledad, “De lo construido a la arquitectura sin papel”, XI Biennale di Venezia, Madrid, Ministerio de Vivienda, 2008, Cat. Exp.
Freshmadrid, Madrid, Fundación COAM, 2006, Cat. Exp.



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