The exhibition of the artist Darío Villalba (San Sebastián, 1939) brings together a selection of more than thirty works from the Josep Suñol Collection and the personal holdings of the artist himself.

The figure of Darío Villalba is vital in understanding the evolution of Spanish art in the 1960s. From its very beginnings his work broke clear from existing currents in the country at that time, creating a rupture that has endured to the present by combining two techniques with no distinction between them: painting and photography. As he himself commented in an interview: “In my work painting is photography and photography is painting.”

Villalba began his artístic career in 1957 at the age of just eighteen, with an exhibition at the Sala Alfil in Madrid. The experimental process evidenced in his art over such a long period of time has led to him now being considered one of the precursors of the use of photography as a pictorial suport, both in Spain and around the world. In 1973 he was invited to participate in the XII Sao Paulo Biennial, with an individual room, where he was awarded the International Painting Prize. Recognition of his work led him to be nominated in 2002 as an oficial member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

In all the work selected for this exhibition, photography is the feature factor, as seen in collage, direct prints on fabric (the photo-linen technique) and in the encapsulated works in Plexiglas, where the depicted characters become three-dimensional. We also find other experimental pieces employing less habitual materials for the visual arts, such as bituminous paint, giving them a dark black texture appearing viscous and soft, as if they had just been painted.

Josep Suñol discovered the work of Darío Villalba in the mid-1970s, when he had solo exhibitions at Madrid’s Galería Vandrés (in 1974 and 1976). It was there where the artist benefited from the support of Fernando Vijande, who would carry out the important task of promoting the newest generation of contemporary artistic creators in Spain.

This exhibition is the artist’s first solo show in Barcelona, and represents a unique opportunity to discover the artist and his work. The catalogue published for the ocassion features the texts Humility, by Arturo Sagastibelza, and Breaches, by Manuel Segade, together providing an exhaustive yet personal review of the artist’s career from the 1960s to the present day.

Fundació Suñol
Passeig de Gràcia, 98
08008 Barcelona, Spain


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