La Sombra de la Idea
Exhibition by Guillermo Pérez Villalta at Gema Llamazares
«The shadow of the idea»
In short, a large part of Pérez Villalta’s drawings are definitive works with an entity comparable to that of the paintings, jewellery, decorations and architectures, ornaments, engravings or sculptures that are advanced in them. In the selection we present on this occasion you can see this explicitly. It consists of thirty-five drawings, dated over the last six years (the most recent were taken directly from the artist’s desk for inclusion in the exhibition), chosen on this exact premise, that of their “perfection” or consummation in the attempt to approach the idea, and which show the breadth of registers and interests that tempt the curiosity of the artist in what we can consider his most intimate and perhaps least publicly known work.
Thirty-five magnificent examples of Pérez Villalta’s capacity to construct imaginary worlds, impossible most of the time, nonsensical or marvellous, depending on the case, where geometry beats beneath the variety of capricious forms of a nature, an architecture and a humanity behind which a certain melancholy leave cannot be completely hidden… Classical techniques, such as sanguine, charcoal, ink or gouache, reflect a complete mastery of combining the ancient with the contemporary, lightness with severity, the highly cultured with the popular, reason with fantasy.
A master of conscious eclecticism, guided by the concepts/meanings implicit in forms and styles, rather than by frivolity or mere combinatory whim, Pérez Villalta at this point has no equal in our artistic history of the last half century, occupying a truly singular position with his repudiation of both the orthodoxy of modern academicism and its reactionary, complacent and nostalgic reverse. An irremediably solitary creator, even in spite of himself, perhaps that is why Pérez Villalta is today a point of escape for many artists of the most recent generations who recognise in him his value and attraction as a pioneering figure in different aspects: the uninhibited vindication of gender issues; disenchantment in the face of hegemonic aesthetic dogmas; the recovery of reviled or forgotten narrative, autobiographical and playful forms; the undramatised nature of his work, without falling into the puerile or into an imposed transcendence…
And so, in this exhibition, Pérez Villalta shows himself to be surprisingly awake, lucid, playful, dynamic, but aware of the seriousness of a task like art, especially in such dark times as we live in. Thus, in his mastery of drawing technique, his interest in controlling the systems of harmonious arrangement of the plane of representation and all the variants that the artist introduces into what is a priori a rigid network that controls and fixes. It is also in the drawing that we can observe more clearly his indefatigable curiosity for the variety and variations between the poles in tension (drawing allows him, as he recognises, not to have to paint many of the pictures he thinks up), going lightly, working faster, to move on to new experiments and even to let new proposals emerge.
In this exhibition, whose title alludes to the mythical origin of the discipline according to Pliny’s legend at the hands of the potter’s daughter Butades, we see him once again “on the hunt for the elusive idea”, as he once said. In this fight, joyful but demanding, drawing is his best and most ductile tool, his great ally; possibly the only one capable of following the incredible speed of his eye and his thought. Fascinating!
Text: Óscar Alonso Molina