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A Selection of Paintings from the Last Decade of Work by Guillermo Pérez Villalta at CAC Malaga
Guillermo Pérez Villalta, El juicio de Paris, 2003-2004. Temple sobre lienzo, 141×200 cm.

MALAGA.- “The immediacy between thought and reality makes drawing essential for me, as is painting”. Pérez Villalta’s phrase offers a clear and precise summary of his artistic motivation and his methodical, intellectual and thorough approach. As a result, he has liberated himself from any restrictions on his freedom to imagine, and his creative projects and artistic investigations thus represent an ongoing quest for beauty. His works feature recurring references to Dalí’s Surrealism, Oriental art, the Baroque, 1960s Psychedelia and German Romantic painting but are devoid of any realistic or expressionistic representation. They avoid affectation and psycho-analytical research in order to offer the viewer a philosophical type of painting with a considerable degree of autobiographical reference.

The CAC Málaga is presenting a survey of Guillermo Pérez Villalta’s output over the last ten years through 42 paintings and 22 previously un-exhibited preparatory drawings that reveal the artist’s manner of conceiving and creating his works, filled with detail and subtle nuances.

Las metamorfosis y otras mitologías is structured into four principal thematic sections that have recurred over the course of Pérez Villalta’s career: Old and New Testament stories (Salomé con la cabeza del Bautista/Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, 2008), combats and battles (Hombre luchando contra un dragon/Man fighting a Dragon, 2007), patriarchy (Dios padre y Dios hijo/God the Father and God the Son, 2006), and the myth of the artist (El artista creando una obra de arte/The Artist creating a Work of Art, 2008). However, the exhibition’s starting point is Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a key repertoire of the great classical myths that starts with the creation of the universe and the appearance of the gods and men and in which transformation plays a key role (El juicio de Apolo y Marsias/The Judgment of Apollo and Marsyas, 2003). The process of change and mutation plays an extremely important role in Pérez Villalta’s work (Metamorforsis. Pan y Siringa o música para tus ojos/Metamorphosis. Pan and Syrinx or Music for your Eyes, 2004), explaining his interest in the cycles of nature.

For Fernando Francés, director of the CAC Málaga: “Guillermo Pérez Villalta renounces any form of conceptual or minimalist representation in favour of more baroque and ornamental options. As a result he has pursued a solitary course in which he has defended positions of absolute independence. His exhibition at the CAC Málaga summarises the spirit that presides over his works, which involve recurring references to art history, mythology and tradition. With human iconography at the centre of his work, for some time now he has been experimenting with a form of geometrical reduction to the point of symbol, resulting in an infinite world of creative possibilities. Guillermo Pérez Villalta is a reflexive artist and nothing appears by chance in his work, arising, rather, from a meticulous process in which even the smallest element is highly meditated”.

Together with the cycles of nature and his investigations into the human figure, landscape has been fundamental in the artist’s work over the last decade. As he has noted: “Landscape is one of the most delightful genres for pictorial invention”, as it allows him to transport himself to distant places in the manner of a journey. Canaletto and Guardi’s urban landscapes have also offered the challenge of experimenting with new techniques through which to depict certain themes within the classical tradition (La venganza de Latona/Latona’s Revenge, 2008).

Guillermo Pérez Villalta (born Tarifa, Cadiz, 1948) falls within the context of the New Figuration movement in 1970s Spanish art. Although this is his first exhibition at the CAC Málaga he has been associated with the institution for some time as his work is represented in the Permanent Collection (Curador llevando un rebaño de artistas, 2009). In addition, he led the painting course “Who’s afraid of Beauty?” organised by the Centre a couple of years ago.

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