The title of the show, Estratégias Obliquas (‘Oblique Strategies’), is inspired by a game developed by musician Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt, a sort of I-Ching for artists. Each card contains a recommendation or enigmatic phrase: “Change the function of objects;” “Always the first steps;” “Ask your body.” As to how Villani, who was a student of Schmidt’s in London, accounts for the title, he ascribes it to one of the cards specifically referred to here: “Repetition is a form of change.”
Quadrado Mole (‘Soft Square’), one of his more recent productions, is a sculpture with a squared base made up of eleven edges, whose structure enables it to adopt a variety of shapes. “A rigid drawing transformed into a malleable object,” says the artist. The entire edition is laid out side by side, leaping from the horizontal plane onto the wall, thus set apart so distinctly that we are led to believe they are different sculptures. Here repetition is most definitely a kind of change.
Two paintings (acrylic on canvas) on a large scale disclose the diligence of his geometry, yet it is the drawings selected for this show that are indicative of the essence of his language. They present vertical and diagonal lines that are balanced in space. Shown in sequence, they denote the intention of variation on a single theme: “architectures of collapse,” says Villani. The idea of imbalance pervades these works to such an extent that, in the artist’s view, the removal of a single line could bring about the disintegration of the entire structure.
About the Artist
Julio Villani (Marília, born 1956) lives and works between Paris and São Paulo. He studied fine arts at FAAP, at London’s Watford School of Arts and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. His work has appeared in exhibits at the Museums of Modern Art (MAM) in Paris, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador; SESC; Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the Museo del Barrio in New York.
His one-man shows include: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Agen, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Centre d’Art Contemporain 10 Neuf de Montbéliard; Musée de Dieppe; Casa França Brasil and the Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro; Musée Zadkine, Paris. His work is held by the collections of the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain/Ministère de la Culture; Musées de la Ville de Paris; Maison de l’Amérique Latine, Paris; Fundación Daniella Chappard, Venezuela; SESC; Manufacture des Gobelins/Mobilier National, Paris. In 2008 he held his first individual exhibit at the Galeria Raquel Arnaud, which has represented him since then.