Rodolfo Villaplana
8 ½

Curator: Daina Maja Titonel

September 30 - November 12, 2016

selected works
Rodolfo Villaplana's second solo exhibit at MAC Maja Arte Contemporanea will open on Friday, September 30th. The exhibition is called 8 ½ and is a tribute to Fellini's eponymous film.

The eight paintings on display, all composed in 2016, are inspired by the female figures in the film. Five of the paintings are portraits: Luisa, the middle class wife; Carla, the sensuous lover; Saraghina, the voluptuous prostitute, a "splendid though horrifying dragon" in Fellini's own words; Claudia, the pure and ethereal beauty; and, Gloria, Mezzabotta's young and bold lover.

"The female portraits are visual narratives exploring several feminine archetypes by pushing them to their extreme," says Villaplana. Speaking of Fellini's masterpiece, he adds, "The director lives through the world he has conceived, without separating reality from fiction. This leads to the film's closing scene" - which is, in turn, the inspiration for one of the other paintings on display - "where reality merges with an imagined world to the frantic pulse set by the music. It is a visceral and aesthetic triumph, celebrating both life and creativity while subtly suggesting that art might be able to reduce the distance between reality and dreams."

The remaining two paintings are portraits of Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) and Federico Fellini (I am Carla) ironically posing as one of the movie's protagonists. The latter seems to mock the patriarchy typical of Mediterranean countries in the sixties and is in stark contrast with the shift in the role of Italian women at that time and their new flaming and exuberant freedom.

Born in Valencia (Venezuela) in 1975, Rodolfo Villaplana has been living between London and Montepulciano since 2002. At the same time as this solo exhibit, a selection of other works of his can be found on display in a show curated by Thierry Morel in London (the show is set to open in early October). In presenting the show, Morel writes of Villaplana's art: "He deploys with his brush a wide-ranging symphony of hues and colours with uncompromising courage verging on brutality in order to portray 'the inner being' that he perceives in his sitter's body and gaze. The rough and earthy texture of his oil paint seeks to defy the limitations imposed by a two-dimensional image (...) (it is) a mysterious artistic process of construction and de-construction, adjunction, falsification even, that challenges the viewers' senses and leaves them with a mixture of awe and raw emotions."


Born in Valencia in Venezuela in 1975, Villaplana attended the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Arturo Michelena in his native city, the Instituto de Artes Plásticas Armando Reverón in Caracas, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Valencia, Spain.
In 2002 he moved to Rome where in the same year he took part in the collective exhibition Ci faremo sentire held at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and sponsored by Rome City Council.
His first personal exhibition was in 2003 where he presented his series entitled Beata Ludovica Albertoni in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Rome).
Other solos and collectives followed in public and private venues in Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, London and Caracas.
After stays in Berlin, Barcelona and Paris, in 2011 he moved to London, where he obtained an MA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art and Design.
In September of that year he took part in the college's art degree show which featured three large canvases - two of which were acquired for inclusion in a prestigious London collection - and the following month he participated in the Young Masters Prize (Sphinx Fine Art, London).
In 2014 he showed his work at the London Art Fair and PINTA International Art Fair.
His most recent solo exhibitions were held in Venice (ANARCHIVOLTO, Torre Massimiliana, Venezia, June to September 2014), London (The Naked and the Nude, Twentieth Century Theatre, October 2014; critical essay by Michael Petry, director and curator of MOCA Project Space, London), Tbilisi (Duchamp is dead, MoMa Museum of Modern Art, Georgia, November 2015 to January 2016), London (Dramatic Flesh, D-Contemporary, October 2016, curator Thierry Morel, curator of Francis Bacon and the Masters exhibition, Hermitage Museum and Sainsbury Foundation, Norwich, 2015).
In 2015 he was among the artists accepted for ArtVenice Biennale 3 and in 2016 among the artists accepted for Iran Contemporary Art Biennial (Peace on Paper).
He lives between London and Montepulciano.