Belén Uriel

Belén Uriel

Artist selected by Hontoria, Javier at 2010
More artist content updated at 2016

My artistic practice is based on an interest in the consequences triggered by the ideological backgrounds of different late modernist movements in architecture and design, and the emergence of consequential by-products.

These design trends often exploit the concept of comfort and establish an ideological master narrative through the implementation or insertion of designed goods into daily life.

Through my work I aim to confront two contradictory facts: the acceptance of the current everyday use of our built environment as a factual given (historical heritage), and the aspirational necessity and constant need to change it.

The outcome of my practice often incorporates these concepts into architectural installations and objects, drawings and photographs.

Both the architectural structures and the photographs are created through appropriation and readaptation of previous spatial, architectural models and industrial objects usually derived from drawings and studies.
The process through which I navigate between these media draws back to a reflexive way of dealing with the modernist hypothesis, and to the dismantling of modernisms misconceptions.

My interest in these subjects is connected to the intrinsic qualities of social interaction and their reverberation on my actual daily life. Whenever my work alludes to the designed environment, it is reflexive of my personal assumptions regarding contemporary sensibilities in spite of modernist utopian ideals and its contradictions and failures.


Belén Uriel
Madrid, 1974.
Vive y trabaja entre/Lives and works between: London, Lisboa.


Formación Académica/Education
Associate Research Course, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.


MA Fine Arts, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.


Curso de Experto Universitario en Creación Audiovisual e Infografía, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Programa de Doctorado, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Magister en Museografía y Exposiciones, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Licenciatura en Bellas Artes/Bachelor of Fine Arts, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Exposiciones Individuales/Solo Exhibitions
Pedra, papel e tesoura. Pavilhão Branco. Museu da Cidade. Lisboa. Portugal.

Useful Household Objects Under 10$, Arte e Investigación Montehermoso 2011, Centro Cultural Montehermoso. Vitoria.
Manual. Galería Presença, Oporto, Portugal.

Ni blanco, ni negro, Appleton Square, Lisbon.
The largest selection of dreams, Galería Espacio Líquido, Gijón.


Ponle un marco... Galería Presença, Porto.


Full-View, Fundación Laxeiro, Vigo.


Borrowed View, Galería Vacío 9, Madrid.


Espacios Protegidos, Galería Valle Quintana, Madrid.


Galería Enes Arte Contemporânea, Lisboa.


Sobre piel, Sala de Exposiciones del Centro de Arte Joven, Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid; Galería Espacio F, Madrid.


Exposiciones Colectivas/Group Exhibitions
Progress in work /// work in crisis. Comisarios: Olivier Beaudet y Laura Díez García.
Lavitrine Gallery, Limoges, Bizkaia-Aretoa, Bilbao.
Paisajismo craneoencefálico. Jugada a tres bandas, Comisario Daniel Silvo, Espacio Valverde. Madrid.

Cartografía del presente,  Colección de Arte Contempoeránea Fundación Laxeiro, Vigo.
XI Bienal Unicaja de Ates Plásticas. CUC. Cádiz.

El Ángel Exterminador. A Room for Spanish Contemporary Art, Bozar, Bruxelles.
7 Bienal de Arte Leandre Crisòfol, Centre d'art La Panera, Lleida.
O dia mais longo do ano, Teatro de Almada, Lisboa.
25 años de Muestra de Arte Injuve, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid.


La vida en este lado, Galería Espacio Líquido, Gijón.
Inéditos, Galería Presença, Porto.
Generaciones 08. Becas de Arte Caja Madrid, ARCO 09, Stand Obra Social Caja Madrid (Madrid), Madrid.
Generaciones 09, La Casa Encendida, Madrid; Centro del Carmen, Valencia.
Poéticas Cam, Centro de Arte Tecla Sala, Barcelona.
Lugares transportados-Lugares invisibles, Galería PazyComeidas, Valencia.


Poéticas CAM, Ses Voltes, Ajuntament de Palma de Mallorca; Museu Universitat d’Alacant, Alicante.


Celebrando, Intermediae, Matadero Madrid, Madrid.
Space Odity, Lxprojects, Lisboa.


The Tales of Hoffman, St. Agustine’s Tower, London.
I Am Somewhere Here, The Process Room, Irish Museum of Modern Art, IMMA, Dublin.


Transit, Action Field, Kodra 2005, Thessaloniki.
Transurbancia, Inéditos 2005, La Casa Encendida, Madrid.
The Cavern, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.


Red Mansion Art Foundation. Royal College of Art, London; Open Studios, Beijing.


Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Arte e investigación Montehermoso. (Beca/Grant)
VI Edición de las Becas de Creación Artística MUSAC 2010-2011. (Beca/Grant)


Ayudas a la Creación Contemporánea, Matadero Madrid. (Beca/Grant)


Generación 2008, Premios y Becas de Arte Caja Madrid, Madrid. (Beca/Grant))
XI Bienal Unicaja de Artes Plásticas, Málaga. (Adquisición/Acquisition)
Propuestas_08, XII Convocatoria de ayuda a la creación visual, Fundación Arte y Derecho, VEGAP, Madrid. (Beca/Grant)


Feima-Fundación Laxeiro 2007 a la creación artística, Feima- Fundación Laxeiro, Vigo. (Beca/Grant)


VII Premio ABC de Pintura y Fotografía, Madrid. (Accésit/2nd Prize).


Beca Colección CAM de Artes Plásticas, London. XLII Certamen Internacional de Artes Plásticas de Pollensa, Palma de Mallorca. (Adquisición/Acquisition)


Red Mansion Art Foundation Prize, London. (Beca-Residencia en Beijing/Artist in Residence)
Beca InJuve para ampliación de estudios y formación de jóvenes artistas, MA Fine Arts, Chelsea Collage of Art and Design, London. (Beca/Grant)
VIII Mostra Unión Fenosa, A Coruña. (Adquisición/Acquisition)


Obra en Museos y Colecciones/Works in Museum and Collections
MUSAC (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León).
Centre d'art La Panera, Lleida.
Colección Banco Espírito Santo, Portugal.
Obra Social Caja de Madrid, Madrid.
Colección CAM, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, Alicante.
Colección ABC.
Instituto de la Juventud, InJuve, Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, Madrid.
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, UNED, Madrid.
Colección de Fotografía Purificación García.
Colección Unicaja, Málaga.
Caja de Castilla La-Mancha.
Colección Fundación Unviersidad Complutense de Madrid.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Unión Fenosa, MACUF, A Coruña.
Fundación Feima, Madrid
Fundación Laxeiro, Vigo.
Museu de Pollença, Mallorca.


Marchand, Bruno, "Duplicaçâo e simulacro. Belén Uriel, Perda, papel e tesoura", Ed. Museu da Cidade, Pavilhâo Branco, Lisboa, 2013.
Varios Autores, "Arte Español Contemporáneo 1992-2013", Ed. La Fábrica, Madrid, 2013. 
Marmeleira, Jose, " Da loja ao museu (e vice-versa)". Ípsilon, Público (Portugal). 22/03/2013
Castro, Fernando, "Belén Uriel. El Ángel Exterminador. A Room for Spanish Contemporary Art", Ed. Distroforma, 2010. Cat. Exp.
Faría, Óscar, "Desconstruir, jogar", Ípsilon, Público, Portugal, 29/I/2010, p. 39.
Bella, María; Vozmediano, Elena "Belén Uriel. Full-View", Vigo, Fundación Laxeiro, 2009, Cat. Exp.
L. Bernárdez, Carlos, “As Vistas Panorámicas de Belén Uriel”, Faro de Vigo, Vigo, p. 7, 26/VI/08.
B. Perió, Joan, "Poéticas CAM. Belén Uriel", Alicante, CAM, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, 2007, Cat. Exp.
Roble, José María, “La ‘república independiente’ de Legazpi”, El Mundo, Madrid, n. 6388, p. 14, 14/VI/07.
Villa, Manuela, "Arte Emergente en España", Editorial Vaivén, Madrid, 2006, Cat. Exp.
Hontoria, Javier, “Belén Uriel”, El Cultural, El Mundo, Madrid, p. 34, 01/XII/2005.
Martín Galán, Fernando, “Belén Uriel”, Blanco y Negro Cultural, ABC, Madrid, p. 34, 12/IV/03.



1. What made you choose art as a profession?
I don’t think I chose it; it just happened…

2. How would you define your work?
Complicated… I think it could be described as a reflective process that takes shape in different forms and helps me understand what’s going on around me.

3. What subjects are you interested in?
I’m interested in processes of urban change and transformation, such as how society is organised and how this is reflected in our built environment (architecture/design) and the contradictory uses we make of it: on the one hand, accepting it as we’ve inherited it, and on the other, the constant drive and need to try and change it.

4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
Anything that helps me ‘give shape’ to the ideas and concepts I work with when I'm developing a piece/project. I don’t want to limit myself in any way.

5. What relationship does your work have with reality?
What are your raw materials? My work is based on situations, spaces and/or objects which I experience, pass through and come across in my daily life. I use them as a starting point because I find certain qualities in them that unleash a whole process of associating and relating ideas for starting work; for example at the moment I’m doing some drawings based on a furniture catalogue that came through my door.

6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
I’d like to think it offers alternatives, other ways of relating and interpreting the world we live in.

7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
I hope my work is suggestive enough to get people to take a look at themselves and draw their own conclusions. I’m not aiming at any audience in particular.

8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I graduated from the Fine Art School in Madrid, where I learnt that everyone has to find their own educational path… Then I had the chance to do an MA at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, where I learnt things I’d never had access to in Madrid. I think my contact with fellow students, artists and friends with similar interests in the same situation as me was perhaps the most interesting thing about this period.

9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
Intense – I’m working more and more comfortably. I think you always have hopes and expectations, at least to be able to carry on working.

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’s very difficult to make a living as an artist, above all when the artist is the last one to receive any money for their work. Paradoxically, the people who set up the pieces for an exhibition usually earn more than the artist themself. The concept of artists’ fees is almost nonexistent in the art context. I think this affects and limits us all – this is clear in the Spanish art scene.

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 hope for the necessary circumstances and conditions to create a serious context in which artists can carry out their work.

12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
I haven’t lived in Madrid for seven years, although I do know something about what goes on in the city, which can be described as a little or a lot depending on what it’s being compared with. On the up side, it’s got a lot of potential. It’s a big, active city with lots of people, lots of spaces/centres for contemporary art (and if there are spaces, I imagine there’s money to programme things there). On the down side, I don’t think it’s very well managed. Unfortunately, it’s not a benchmark for contemporary art. At least we’ve got El Prado!