Manolo Valdés | May 9th – November 30th, 2017

Contini Art Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the acclaimed Spanish artist Manolo Valdés, on view at Calle Larga XXII Marzo – Venice. Among the most significant artists of the XXI Century, Manolo Valdés is an eclectic, multifaceted artist, whose continuous artistic and formal research conjugates with artistic influences from art history.

The exhibition brings together his latest works, 40-50 pieces exploring the life and the distinctive language of this great artist. The new works, all of which created for the exhibition at Contini Art Gallery, depict beautiful, stylized figures in the artist’s well-known signature style. Valdés, famous for depictions of women in all media, has created some of the most communicative works of his storied career. Charming female heads in aluminum, bronze or alabaster, paintings and large-scale collages as Perfil II, which weds a late Matisse collage technique to Renaissance-style drawing. The blue bronze visage in Mariposas Azules is adorned with dozens of massive butterflies in a sculpture that is as uplifting as it is profound. The exhibition also includes sculptures from the Las Meninas series, which are based on the famous painting by Diego Velázquez. The recurring, “semi-abstracted” Reina Mariana, is translated into three dimensions, rendered in bronze, and presented in isolation, containing references to its original context and yet possessing a life of its own.

Velázquez, Rembrandt, Matisse, are his starting point for the creation of a work. Valdés acts as an image-hunter; he chooses a central theme and develops it in series, proposing different meanings and giving back a unique and contemporary image, but not devoid of its original value. He appropriates the most famous masterpieces of the past and then associates them with a contemporary realization: the vivid and vibrant visual language, the study of the matter, the pictorial realism, the use of multidimensional layers and large-scale works, are just some of the features that make his immediately recognizable style.

The subjects dealt with are released from the political-social complaints that have characterized the two decades of the Equipo Crónica, a Valencian collective that combined elements of Pop Art with the figurative aesthetic of Nueva Figuración movement, highlighting a critical look at Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and art history itself.

After the dissolution of the group in 1981, Valdés reinvented his work and his distinctive artistic style for which he continues to be renowned for today. The visual message that emerges is able to catch the viewer’s attention and thus to elevate Valdés among the greatest living Spanish artists.

We build upon that which art history has placed in our hands.

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