(June 26 – July 31, 2013)

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Mixed media, oil on canvas. 47.5 x 39 cm
Untitled Myth and Magic Cubist Figure Warrior in Blue Under the Moon Opposite Planes Jockeys

The exhibition is formed by fifty works of varying sizes, made using a range of techniques. Oil paint, collage, and encaustic, among others, combine to create a set of works that sums up Villegas’ artistic production; from an early piece dated 1974, which already announces this abstract/figurative parallel, to works from the last few decades in which discarded materials infuse the piece with a variety of textures and plasticity. This exhibition is displayed in Lima thanks to the efforts of Enlace Arte Contemporáneo and the sponsorship of the Peruvian Embassy in Colombia, giving the Peruvian public a fantastic chance to appreciate a selection of works by one of the most important Peruvian artists in contemporary Latin American art, now exhibiting after a long absence from our country. The Colombian novelist and poet Gonzalo Márquez Cristo says about Villegas’ work: “In the visual jungle created when he performs his figuration, it is easy to note the painstaking textures left over from his initial interest in abstraction, and of course, that tribute to his roots, in which he seems to evoke the dresses of dolls from the Chancay culture or the outfits worn by traditional dancers from Ancash, with which he became familiar during his childhood in Pomabamba, where he verbalized the world in Quechua, his mother tongue. And if we look closely at these oil paintings with their defenseless warriors or their sublime fossilized fish, we may believe that we are looking at a carved painting, or better yet, a subtle sculpture on canvas, having fallen victim to a singular stunt. (…) In the mid-eighties, he returned to the non-figurative, which had opened to him a whole cosmic world, although this time with mixed techniques, creating collages on cardboard or jute, integrating everyday elements from our society with its consumerist frenzy, only to end up constructing pieces with the innocence expressed in the early twentieth century by the Swiss painter Paul Klee. (…) Villegas knows that if man wants to survive on this profane planet, he requires a reencounter with the sacred, and for this reason the artist’s shamanic nostalgia is insatiable. His work invokes not external movement, but something much more complex: the call of the future, the gnawing of the passing seconds. On the pierced surfaces of his oil paintings and in the primordial elementality of his fetishes, with their millennia-old appearance, he captures the steps of that invisible feline we call time.” Back in 1989, Gabriel García Márquez, a good friend of Villegas, wrote of him: “That’s why I recall with such admiration, and such gratitude, his modesty in allowing me to inaugurate his first major exhibition in Bogota. I was quite confused, because we both know many distinguished professional inaugurators who had truly seen the best paintings in the world and had speeches written beforehand with quotes in their original language, classified in alphabetical order, for each occasion. Despite this, I thought that Armando Villegas’ act of civil bravery deserved a response spoken with the same calm and calculation, and so I said yes. That was the first and last exhibition I ever presented in my life, and now that I think about it, the only speech I’ve ever given of my own free will. Before all of the city’s pontiffs, I had the guts to say, ‘I have the satisfactory impression that I am witnessing the beginning of an incredible pictorial oeuvre.’ I was right to say so, because that was twenty-five years ago, and I now enjoy the satisfactory impression that I wasn’t mistaken.”