Between sound and silence
Before it was figurative, volumetric and detailed. Now, it’s highly conceptual and spatial. The material in the work of this artist weaves together to narrate time and movement. Like a piece of music that combines sounds and coherent silence, Colombian artist Jerónimo Villa combines multiple elements to create stories.
Sticking with the same technique and material for many years (wire and copper), he was labeled the “wireworker” before artist. A Marilyn Monroe costume and day-to-day experimentation were in charge of showing him the physical properties of this malleable, transformable and obedient material with which he played with to eventually create things ranging from expressionist portraits and jewelry to large-scale sculpture installations. From there, pieces like La elegancia del alambre were born, where the void and the waves of the wire he worked with formed masses that floated in the shape of dresses in a simple, crude and not very elegant material, which become elegant. They were figurative odes to tissue and structure.
Said sculptures would be modified in the future to transcend in time and in a movement, that came in the form of sequence and narrated a concept regarding the space. This new work, called Movimiento secuenciado, which is also in wire, recreated parabolic, linear, harmonic, and simple movements among others by separating planes. The objects in these pieces are shown to be seen without being present. By building planes with nylon thread, Jerónimo Villa decided to take interest in a branch of physics called Kinematics.
His work keeps changing, telling stories and suggesting concepts. But, if we take a few steps back, at what point did he manage to understand art as a powerful vessel of expression? It’s probable that as a kid he obliviously was influenced by aspects of his daily life, which at that time, probably lacked meaning. For example, the pieces and workshop of his father, who was a sculptor, and the cheerful connection this has with his artistic expression, or his mother teaching him to draw on his homework, in addition to entire evenings dedicated to composition and understanding music as another form of powerful expression.
From a young age, Jerónimo fell in love of this discipline and decided to study it professionally. For personal reasons, he left school not long before finishing. Music became an inactive element but with a latent force and, at the same time, visual arts started to take up much of his life. It wasn’t because of this that he stopped loving harmony, and in fact, he learned to understand it as an important complement within his artistic expression. Upon learning the pros and cons of both mediums, he learned to take the best from his first passion and include it very subtly within his work. He claims that sound and silence, have influenced his work in a certain way.
In addition to his long relationship with music, his work has always been largely related to geometry and structure. From his expressionist drawings made with wire, to his current work, line, space and structure have remained a mainstay in the concepts behind his proposals. While each one of his pieces is singular, all take the same path. A path that starts without looking for an issue, but rather by working the piece as it is: questioning, constructing and deconstructing. His pieces arise as a force of the imagination that emerges from intrigue and curiosity. This has led him to rediscover his proposals and pose new questions.
His world has vastly expanded. Materials, techniques, space and concepts keep expanding. Rags, brooms, framing squares, coins, wood, steel cables, rocks, among other things make up the two stories that he currently proposes: the wonderful eternity of impossibility and concept of uninhabitable architecture. The eternity of impossibility reflects the conviction of the earth on one hand and the abyss on the other. Time frozen in the last step “like the match striking the matchbook or the baseball that never falls; the tragedy of paranoia or an anxiety disorder,” says the artist. On the other hand, the concept of uninhabitable architecture is a poem on structure and geometry, which he stated, are constant elements in his exhibitions. He suggests the restriction of habiting a space, a fact that broadens the variations of sculpture, dimensions and even materials.
This ex “wireworker” continues discovering and finding ideas. Getting away from his initial technique allowed him to traverse the infinite variety of existing techniques: “I want to turn my workshop into a hardware store, a blacksmith’s, a wood warehouse, a video and photography studio, a garden, into anything,” explains Jerónimo. Today his work speaks of space, the organic, impossibility, conviction and the abyss; it speaks of the culture itself, his culture and that which can barely be explained with words.