Permanent Collection

Guillermo Pérez Villalta

Tarifa (Cádiz), 1948

Pérez Villalta´s early works were influenced by geometrical compositions. His first solo exhibition, held at Madrid’s Sala Amadís in 1972, shows a Pérez Villalta that openly supported figurative art. This stance was shared by his equally transgressive friends and fellow artists, Rafael Pérez Mínguez, Carlos Alcolea and Carlos Franco. Like the other members of this peculiar quartet from Madrid, around this time Pérez Villalta began to define his artistic undertaking, which owed much to pop art but took the style a step further by questioning the linear history of modern art.

"La estancia" [The Room], 1982-1983
La estancia [The Room], 1982-1983

Between 1975 and 1976, Pérez Villalta painted Grupo de personas en un atrio o alegoría del arte y la vida o del presente y el futuro [Group of People in an Atrium or Allegory of Art and Life or Present and Future], a portrait of his generation in the style of nineteenth-century atelier scenes. Personajes a la salida de un concierto de rock [Characters Outside a Rock Concert, 1979] shows his identification with Madrid and its countercultural movement of the time, known as the "movida." Pérez Villalta was one of the first young artists of his generation to enjoy critical acclaim. A retrospective of his work was held at Madrid’s Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso as early as 1983, and in 1985 he received the National Visual Arts Prize.

La estancia brings together all the "ingredients" that make up Pérez Villalta’s universe: Renaissance and mannerism, trompe-l’oeil and contorted figures, narrative and autobiographical elements, narcissism, cultural references, the blurring between reality and representation, interest in southern landscapes, and the neomodern style of the Costa del Sol. The naked and reflective man on the left is a self-portrait. Next to him, an empty glass has been knocked down, while one of the two figures depicted in the central mural prepares to place a crown of thorns on his head—this image brings to mind Cristo en la columna [Christ at the Column, 1980], a work where Pérez Villalta portrays himself in a similar manner. The figure on the right is also a self-portrait. Lying on a neo-modernist multicolored mattress, the artist lies with his back turned to the spectator. A full glass of wine rests on a palette beside him, as a Mediterranean landscape appears to unfold on the background. The mural also features a lamb pierced through by an arrow.

Juan Manuel Bonet

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