Manolo Valdés - A Head Above The Rest

Internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor, Manolo Valdés is a pioneering and adventurous explorer of image, form and materials. Valdés creates paintings, monumental sculptures, etchings, and collages. His work is forceful and decorated with historical art symbols.

Bronze, aluminium, alabaster and wood as key mediums

A member of the Pop Art generation, the 77 year old Spaniard understands the importance of an image iconic value. Quoting figures from well-known works of art by old masters such as Diego Velázquez, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, Valdés revitalises these iconic images by taking them out of their original context. In both paintings and sculptures, he inflates the figure’s size, abstracting form and minimizing detail, while incorporating a lot of roughly applied paint and unusual materials.

His chosen materials, ranging from bronze, aluminium, alabaster and wood, to burlap, string, mirror and linseed oil, have become effective tools for Valdés to introduce physicality and a range of visual effects into his works. Interestingly, the sculptures made by Valdés often appear to be pictorial and display a delicate quality, whilst his paintings, made with a collage of crude materials, become three-dimensional, and are marked by a raw characteristic.

Works inspired by Grecian mythology

Among the goddesses with extraordinary hair that have emerged from Valdés’ New York studio over the last few years, Clio is clearly the one the artist is most passionate about. According to Valdés, Clio is a crude head, her features almost absent, her verticality belied by a generous crown of steel wire that explodes into a swarming mass.

The daughter of Zeus, in Greek mythology Clio is the muse of History, the one who chants the great events and actions of the past. Just as Clio’s song pays homage to the great figures of the past, Valdés’ painting is a eulogy to the great works from the history of art and the masters who created them.

Open to broad interpretation, Valdés encourages us to engage with his works and to feel them with our own, individual sensibility. Valdés’ works have been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. The elegant, large-scale steel sculpture, Fiore, has also made an emphatic impact in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay amongst the greenery.

Visit Opera Gallery for more on Manolo Valdés works.

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