Darío Villalba
Spain, 1939
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Villalba—a pioneer in the use of new techniques and aesthetic codes at a time when the focus in Spain was on painting in a much more traditional style—has created a dark, dense oeuvre that calls on viewers to surrender completely to the work in order to understand and appreciate it. Characterised by a complex web of obsessive images, over time his work has been ordered in series that highlight its distinctive traits. The use of photographic material as a medium to complement painting is perhaps the most recognisable feature of this avant-garde Basque artist, whose work was recognised abroad long before it drew attention in Spain. The intensity of his output—never agreeable or fashionable; always extremely emotional and personal—may be one of the reasons why it took so long for it to be fully appreciated. Villalba pursues the beauty of eternal youth, which inevitably decays with the passage of time, disease, and ultimately death. Gran caída II (d’après Peter Paul Rubens, “La caída de los condenados”) shows us, in black-and-white photographic format, a fragment of Rubens’ work, on top of which Villalba applies splashes of paint in a gestural manner, creating a deliberate contrast between appropriated figuration and added abstraction. The artist dramatically and violently emphasises the original work using this dripping technique, which he has made his own and calls ‘self-sabotage of languages’.
Virginia Torrente

Artworks by the artist included in the Collection Artworks by the artist included in the Collection

  • Great Fall II (d'après Peter Paul Rubens, <"The Fa... / 1993