Moisès Villèlia
Spain, 1928
Spain, 1994
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This Catalan sculptor got his initial training at the side of his father, a highly regarded cabinetmaker based in Mataró. His first sculptural pieces, executed in the early 1950s, were created by carving blocks of walnut and pine to achieve abstract forms with an organic feel. In 1953 he decided to devote himself fully to sculpture, and his first solo exhibition was held the following year at the Museu de Mataró. In 1957 he presented his first sculptural piece made of bamboo, a key material that would mark his artistic career and become his leitmotif for representing fragility and the full-empty binomial that always characterised his sculpture. From 1970 to 1972, he lived in Ecuador, where he experimented with guadua, a species of giant bamboo native to the region. The new material enabled him to increase the size and volume of his pieces. Living in Ecuador also allowed him to gain an in-depth knowledge of pre-Columbian sculpture, which, together with his interest in African art, would over time contribute significantly to defining his own sculptural language. In 1983 a major retrospective of his work was staged at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. Despite occasionally using other materials such as wire and thread, bamboo, sometimes combined with other elements such as stones, was always Villèlia’s material of choice for constructing both mobiles to be hung from a ceiling and stabiles—pieces like those produced around the same time by Alexander Calder, a sculptor whose work he drew inspiration from. His pieces strictly respect the nature of bamboo; perforated canes reveal the characteristic features of the material, such as knots and textures, creating extraordinary spatial interplays in which voids are charged with significance. In 1958 the artist got involved in the activities of Club 49, an art association based in Barcelona. This brought him into contact with the Catalan poet Joan Brossa, who described Villèlia’s sculpture as follows: ‘You take the thread and draw it to the star; you pass it through the loop, then you pass the star and the thread pulls free. As they grow in damp places close to rivers, when the sun disappears into the water it turns into cane.’
Glòria Picazo

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

  • Untitled / 1984

  • Mobile / 1985 -

  • Mobile (Mataró) / 1958 -