For his first solo exhibition in Russia, Spanish artist Raul Diaz Reyes has developed two distinct bodies of work. Inspired by his research into the architectures of São Paulo, New York and Madrid, Diaz Reyes began processing the image of the city as a genre that documents construction and habitation, developing a unique language of sculptural abstraction, while employing a variety of materials.

In many instances his work departs from a flashy surface, a shiny material printed and painted upon with seductive design and colours. Aluminium and metal sheets serve as a primer, for elements of architectural photography that stem from the artists extensive archive. These registers are consequently painted or spray-painted upon in compositions that are reminiscent to the pop canon. Thus pictorial and abstract languages converge in Diaz Reyes’ sculptures.

The exhibition at Osnova Gallery presents an ambient of aluminium sculptures on plinths as well as a new body of photographic paintings. In a process of overlapping, the prime surface of the plane aluminium is painted and then crowned with photographic prints, featuring elements of the city, patterns of architecture, that appear to be generic images. Presented in analogous synthetic acrylic boxes, the photographic assemblages can be considered formal works on visual representation yet they also conjure a digital aesthetic. The coloured acrylic frames and the entering day light add to the complexity of the work, resembling illuminated frames that might be perceived by the urban dweller at night.

Adjacent and presented on white plinths of different sizes and levels, Diaz Reyes has assembled a series of enigmatic sculptures. On first view one might interpret them as representations of 3D computer animations. Developed from a synchronous mode of operation similar to the above mentioned framed works, they feature photographed architectural elements printed on aluminium, which are then painted and bent.

Their anatomy is reminiscent to Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s bichos, while the aesthetics remind us of some of the works produced by architect Zaha Hadid. The works perception hinges on the angle upon which the viewer considers the work. In an eclectic phase of production Diaz Reyes fixes moments of contemporaneity may they allude to the perception of (post-) modern architecture or the glossy surfaces we consume in front of high definition plasma screens, cell phones and personal computers. Documents of our zeitgeist, Diaz Reyes’ works are precious remainders of our current moment where art becomes architecture becomes art.

Tobi Maier is a curator and art critic based in São Paulo, Brazil.