Pérez Villalta’s jewellery collection
The artist has a new retrospective exhibition in Madrid and a jewellery collection inspired by his sketches in collaboration with Suarez.
Words by Raquel Fernández Sobrín
Guillermo Pérez Villalta (Tarifa, 1948) is full of joy these days. The artist, or artificer, as he likes to call himself, is opening a retrospective exhibition today at Sala Alcalá 31 (“This one is very interesting, sometimes gallery exhibitions, which are done because gallery owners want to make money, are boring”) just two days after introducing his jewellery collection in collaboration with Suarez. The firm, used to working with new generation profiles such as Jason Nayloe and James Jean, wanted to explore the path of creativity hand in hand with an established artist this time. “We understood that Pérez Villalta’s language would work spectacularly in jewellery. His transgression and classicism, and his ability to arouse emotion seduced us,” says Gabriel Suárez, the firm’s creative director. To give shape to the pieces he traveled several times with Sandra Rojo (Suarez’s designer) to Tarifa, where Villalta lives in the same house his grandparents lived first and later did his parents. “My studio… in a way I would like it to be tidier, but it’s chaos in there. It’s a funny chaos because I’m very eclectic. I can very much like something sophisticated and then something very kitsch. Old things, very modern things. It’s all mixed, I love that world”.
“I have so many ideas that I would have liked to develop that sometimes it makes me sad and longing”
In that world, Suarez’s team found inspiration in an unexpected place: the writer’s sketchbooks where, in addition to drawings, he collects thoughts and are an inseparable part of his final work. “I have two sketchbooks: the big one, which stays in the studio, and a smaller one that I take with me on trips. When ideas come up, which is usually at night because I have a bit of insomnia, I write them down the next day. I make an outline. In the big notebook, I make a second drawing that is already proportioned. In the process, more and more things come to my mind. Sometimes I think I’m obsessive, I put in too many elements. When it’s time to make the painting another ‘polishing’ happens, I remove things that are superfluous. When I really start to paint it’s very pleasant because I don’t have to worry about whether I correct or not because the perfect drawing is already done. What does he do with the things he doesn’t like in those notebooks? “They stay there. The negative is positive afterwards, because you know where something you end up not liking leads to. I have so many ideas that I would have liked to develop that sometimes it makes me sad and longing”. Maybe that’s why he’s so happy with the result. “They have chosen things from lost elements, like the inspiration in the poster I did for the Seville Fair in 2005”.
“When knowledge and technology come together, you can achieve things that for me are incredible”
This is not the first time Pérez Villalta’s imagery has been applied to the world of jewellery, but it is the first time it has been done under such meticulous standards as those of the Suarez family. “In the 1990s I made a collection of jewellery, but it was very rough. The means were different. Suddenly, when I saw these, with that perfection… I was fascinated. When knowledge and technology come together, you can achieve things that for me are incredible”. The collection is made of white, yellow and rose gold – in some pieces combined, which complicates the manufacturing process – and white diamonds, yellow Fancy diamonds (only one in 10,000 diamonds are considered as such) from India and pink sapphires. “There is one that I am particularly fond of. It’s not the one I like the most, but I’m very fond of it. It’s a pendant I call ‘The Custody of the Void’. The double ring is impressive. I like the simpler ones because there is something almost religious, mystical about them”. With jewellery has happened the same as with his paintings: on a sentimental level they are not all worth the same. “Years ago I made a donation to the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo of a thousand works or so. The proposal was that they would take care of them, but some of the paintings, those that are most special to me, would stay in my house. I lent them those artworks for an exhibition and they still haven’t been given them back to me. Five or six years have passed and on the walls of my house the holes are still waiting. There are two or three in particular that I miss very much”. Those works he talks about are now part of his retrospective exhibition. Let’s hope that when it’s over they will return to their rightful place.
*You can enjoy a small piece of Villalta’s work in Suarez’s Serrano 62 boutique and the exhibition “Guillermo Pérez Villalta. El arte como laberinto” at the Sala Alcalá 31 in Madrid until April 25th.