Pera Museum welcomes Spanish pop art leader

Pera Museum welcomes Spanish pop art leader

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Pera Museum welcomes Spanish pop art leader

Manola Valdés’ large-scale works made him one of the great masters of contemporary Spanish art.

The Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation’s Pera Museum is hosting a unique exhibition of Manolo Valdés, one of Spain’s most celebrated contemporary artists. The exhibition, organized in collaboration with Marlborough Gallery New York, includes selected works of Valdés, his paintings and sculptures from the 1980s to the present day. A leading figure in Spanish Pop Art and renowned particularly for the diversity of his technique and media, Valdés’ large-scale works, and quests in form, have proven him to be one of the great masters of contemporary Spanish art.

Valdés represented Spain in the 1999 Venice Biennale and has since been honored with exhibitions of his monumental sculptures in Beijing, Miami, Monaco, San Francisco and St. Petersburg. He is one of the few contemporary artists to successfully master the disciplines of drawing, painting, sculpture and lithography.

In 1964 Valdés, along with Rafael Solbes and Joan Toledo, formed an artistic team called Equipo Crónica. The collective used irony and art historical appropriation to comment on the Fascist regime of Francisco Franco. Toledo soon left the association but Valdés and Solbes continued to collaborate until Solbes’ premature death in 1981. Following Solbes’ death, Valdés reinvented himself creating the paradoxically muscular and refined expressive style centered on art-historical motifs, which he continues to explore today.

Valdés recreated and recontextualized some of Western art’s most representative icons, creating his own private language through a distinctive production of series, and playing with variations on certain themes. His potent works are instigated from masterpieces of the past, bearing historic clues of colors and textures with robust references to art and its history. Impassioned by artists of the past ranging from Zurbarán to Velázquez, Matisse to Lichtenstein, Valdés finds more than just inspiration in their paintings; he uses their work “as a pretext” (como pretexto) to create an entirely new aesthetic object – a painting or sculpture that, while clearly sourced from a known composition, is a uniquely brilliant work of art in itself.

In public collectons

Valdés’s work is featured in over 40 public collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Menil Collection in Houston and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He has permanent sculptures in many places, including Beijing, Madrid and Bilbao.

2006 marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Solbes, and the consequent dissolution of Equipo Crónica, a quarter of a century in which Valdés has continued to work on his own.

In the work of this second half of his life, Valdés has preserved all of Equipo Crónica’s ironic efficiency, its ability to create strong visual imagery that can be easily understood but is hard to forget. “I like to say that I am a repertoire artist, like the singers that prefer to stick with certain operas because they can perform them better. The repertoire of my images, the images I always fall back on, are the series of [Equipo] Crónica, which are never truly finished,” he said.

The exhibition will continue through July 21.