Born in 1939 in Spain.
Villalba studied at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid, in the workshop of André Lothe in Paris, and at the Department of Plastic Arts at Harvard University. In 1966 he began creating his figures in methacrylate and plastic capsules in an expressionist style. In 1972 he abandoned painting and dedicated himself to a black-and-white photography. By working with photography he experimented processes of decomposition and re-composition and explored themes such as dementia, cruelty and violence.Darío Villalba lived in New York at a time when Pop Art was at its pick. It's not a surprise then, that artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein were a source of inspiration to Villalba. From the first one, the Spanish took ideas about how to enlarge his technical resources and from the others he obtained an ideology basis, contrary to these artists and the engine of Villalba's creations. In 2001 the Galician Contemporary Art Centre (CGAC) hosted an exhibition entitled ‘Documentos básicos 1957-2001’ (‘Basic documents 1957-2001’), a diary of images which described the general aims of his work. In 2002, at the ceremony of his reception as a numerary member of the Academy, he reads an opening address in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain, as a response to a speech by Mrs Francisco Calvo Serraller. his artistic production includes painting, photography, objects, installations, sculptures, style opposed to the non-style characteristic of his work.
He has exhibited in the most prominent art centres around the world, such as: Frankfurter Kunstverein (Frankfurt am Main, 1974), Palais de Beaux-Arts (Brussels, 1976), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, 1983), Museum of Modern Art (New York, 1984), Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (1987), Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (Valencia, 1994) and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, 2007).
In 1973 he won the International Prize for Painting at the XII Sao Paulo Biennial and in 1983 the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Spain. In 2002 he was named Académico de Número (member) of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and in this same year he was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts.
His work is present in both Spanish and foreign collections – Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (Valencia), Museo Patio Herreriano (Valladolid), Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Artium de Álava (Vitoria), Fundación Juan March (Madrid), Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), amongst others.
About Dario Villalba
Spanish, b. 1939