Horizontal, color photo. Julio Villani wears a white shirt and a gray coat. He is in his studio, surrounded by some works and a parrot.
Julio Villani. Photo: Hélio Campos Mello

Julio Villani left Brazil a long time ago, always in search of images, shapes, ideas that would feed his curiosity. He left Marília, in the interior of São Paulo, for England, where he studied at the Watford School of Art, in London; and settled in Paris, where he attended the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and has stayed there since the 1980s.

It is as if he had built a vessel of himself and placed brushes, lines, words, algorithms, indigenous geometry, indignation and loves in it. He he is a prospector and, with his luggage, he is always crossing borders. That gives samba.  

Thus, he has already painted and embroidered linen, worked and reworked old iconographic images, bringing to the surface traces of artistic movements, from modernism to avant-garde. Villani had the opportunity to closely follow one of the richest moments in the history of 20th century art, both of the European and Brazilian avant-gardes.

His sculptures, playful and irreverent, bring traces of the readymade, but also from the concrete poets, from the works of Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, who built them with words that went arranging non-linearly, in order to find a way in the page support. In this case, Villani builds them in a collage that uses material from his mining: a triangular kettle that inspires the body of a bird and whose body completes with the lightness of wires; a snake mounted on a wooden measuring tape; a turtle created from a steel shovel; a pan, a portrait. Everything is experimental and the result is an original and poetic work. 

Producing for exhibitions from the 1980s until today, Villani has worked at MAC-USP, MAM-SP, Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, Museo del Barrio in New York, Habitat Center in New Delhi, Maison de l'Amérique Latine in Paris; and has done several solo shows at institutions such as Sesc-SP and at the galleries that represent it – Galerie 1900-2000 and Galerie RX, both in Paris, and the Brazilian Season e Rachel Arnaud. Villani never stopped working.

Currently, launches its new website, Julio Villani, D'ICI, DE LA (“from here and there”, in free translation), e set up your next exhibition at RX & Slag Galleries, from Paris, with a new branch in Chelsea, New York, where it presents, from December 9 to January 22, 2022, the exhibition Julio Villani. conflicting perspective. There are about 20 works, in which line and color are permanently in tension. “If just one were missing, he used to say, the whole building could collapse”, reads the text of the catalogue. “There is a conflict between lines of flight and perspectives that I think is symptomatic of what I am – are we all? – currently living”, confesses the artist, thus revealing the choice of the exhibition's title.

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