Manolo Valdés, Allegro

29 February - 13 April 2024

After a decade-long absence from exhibiting in Madrid, and nearly two since his major retrospective at Museo Reina Sofía, Opera Gallery is delighted to showcase the creations of Manolo Valdés in the heart of the Spanish capital. The exhibition, titled "Allegro," not only marks Valdés's return but also offers a unique opportunity to explore a recurring theme in his artistic practice.

 

Manolo Valdés, renowned for his deeply personal artistic language rooted in an extensive knowledge of art history, has been consistently exploring themes since the late sixties. His collaboration with Rafael Solbes in Equipo Crónica sparked a focus on Las meninas, where they manipulated the space within the iconic painting. Notably, Valdés extracted characters from the masterpiece, creating new contexts or delving into other portraits of queens and infantas, especially those of Mariana de Austria and Infanta Margarita at the Museo del Prado.

 

This new exhibition in Madrid features a selection of sculptures and paintings, highlighting Valdés as one of the most distinctive, coherent, and contemplative voices in today's contemporary art landscape. His assertion that "my painting comes from sculpture" is vividly evident as he seamlessly intertwines the two disciplines, creating works that pay homage to both.

 

Valdés's exploration of surfaces, delving into informal textures, reveals a fascination with the natural colouring and accidental nuances of materials. The beauty, voluptuousness, and infectious joy emanating from his creations find their source in his delight for the relief and 'imperfections' of materials.

 

The sculptures in Valdés's exhibition, at times resembling aerial drawings, capture the essence of fantastical headdresses reminiscent of Matisse. Light gracefully filters through coloured glass and metal, meticulously painting shadows with subtle precision. Unveiling previously unseen Christs, Valdés captivates with apparent roughness and a treatment of materials that exude lyrical dramatism.

 

Masterfully navigating the formal and plastic potentials of diverse materials in his paintings and sculptures, Valdés skilfully unites the gazes of painters across different eras. Each artwork becomes a profound contemplation on the language of art itself, fostering an open dialogue between the past and the present. Valdés engages in a continuous exploration of classics, replacing confrontational violence with admiration and homage.

 

Valdés's greatest achievement lies in his ability to initiate a dialogue among diverse perspectives, artists, and eras, all within the singular language of art. Opera Gallery proudly presents this artistic triumph, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the timeless beauty and rich narrative woven by Manolo Valdés in the "Allegro" exhibition, running from 29 February to 15 March 2024.

Images: Cabeza Azul, 2023; Cabeza con Cristales Verdes, 2023; Clio, 2023; Círculos Azules 2024; Reina Mariana, 2020. Photo © Enrique Palacio