Rodolfo Villaplana Portraits Explore The Characters Suffering New Venice Exhibition

Should artworks be considered as mere decorations serving the architecture they inhabit or should architecture be seen as the necessary cocoon for the artwork, which, in turn, becomes its core? This is a question that this recent Chelsea MA graduate explores in dept in his work. Architecture is born from humankind’s need for protection; its primary functions, to protect and reassure, stem from this origin. Its different styles have evolved in response to each century’s understanding of what elements can generate a feeling of security. Upon entering a new space, one’s first impression is determined through one’s sensory appreciation of its equilibrium or harmony, which is often more striking than its aesthetic impact. Decorations, instead, respond to a human proclivity or instinct for beauty: in this respect, art can be said to serve architecture because it completes its aesthetic value. Art, however, also serves a more noble function by becoming a mean through which to  explore the conflict between rationality and instinct which characterizes the human experience. Thus art can be seen as a cardinal expression of each individual’s internal journey.
Not politically, but artistically. Villaplana’s artistic endeavor is to question all social conventions, without taking anything for granted, herein including: sanctity; sensuality; morality; dignity. He longs to subvert the order established by society’s norms subtly. He believes that a large portion of the world has lost its ideals as well as dictators against whom to rebel, and is thus crushed by a banal quest for social and financial security, which often culminates in a false sense of morality. When society is no longer motivated by each individual’s hopes and dreams, by each individual’s desire to overcome his or her contradictions and to achieve his or her ambitions, it becomes empty and deadly.
Rodolfo Villaplana draws his inspiration from Neo-Expressionism; specifically,  Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon. Today’s revived interest in visual art has charged artists with an obligation to respond to our society’s  latent but deep dissatisfaction and to its parallel desire to rediscover a way to imbue life with meaning (the latter seems to have been lost in a confused attempt to establish the ‘right’ questions and find the ‘right’ answers). Rodolfo Villaplana rids himself of the need of ‘being original at all costs’, and develops his personal analysis of the individual’s journey by grounding his style in Neo-Expressionism. Freud and Bacon’s art, and by extension Villaplana’s, investigate the ambiguities present in the human soul deeply, almost experimenting with their possible psychological implications and thus using the images as introspective tools. In Freud and Bacon, this is evident in the physical contortions and facial expressions of their characters. In Villaplana’s work, this is more subtle. Villaplana merely hints at internal struggles; he alludes to them without expressing them in graphically distorted features and postures. As a result, the viewer will have to interpret the internal struggle presented and develop a personal evaluation of the painting’s subject. Many of Villaplana’s images are suspended: he does not spasmodically try to capture physical defects; rather he hints at them, preserving the image’s elegance. Villaplana’s art explores the characters’ suffering and experience, as well as the possibility of desecrating human life by looking at it sarcastically, acknowledging its hedonism and arrogance.


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