At the entrance to La Sala Parés, where Guillermo Pérez Villalta (Tarifa, 1948) exhibits again in Barcelona after almost two decades of absence, the artist has placed a small self-portrait (La burla) in which he shows himself taking out his tongue, with his head full of extravagant architecture and ornamental elements and his gaze fixed on the viewer.
In his book of memoirs, Mirror of memory, he says he felt rejected, a plague in the world of art... Are they the object of his ridicule?
For years I have maintained a constant fight against what I call dogmatic modernity, because if you do not adapt to the official criteria you are rejected. A series of theoreticians, who are the ones who dominate the great museums, have decided what is art and what is not. And art is free. If as an artist I have to pay attention to you and not to me, what is the point? I have been branded kitsch, tacky, what do I know! Official criteria have rejected two things that are very important to me: beauty and pleasure. Beauty provokes a deeply emotional feeling in you that broadens your mind, your vision of the universe, of your life... It's the wonderful thing about art. But it has become either a political or social issue, or a show. And it is neither one nor the other.
Do you live with frustration?
I experience it with a certain annoyance because I think the world could be more beautiful. And also because that coercive, authoritarian attitude leaves no room for freedom. I am very sorry for all those young people who do not fit into the official current and who face having to live from their art. If they want to paint vases, then let them paint vases!
In the exhibition catalog he says that the works can be acquired, but that he is not happy to part with them. Do you spend money?
From a moment I decided to do what I liked and gave me pleasure. I am not a painter by vocation but my painting and especially my drawing helps me to develop my thoughts. And the luck is that I have been able to live from my painting. Nor have I been a lover of wealth. I have a life that is almost the life I have wanted in every way.
What is pleasure?
Something very important although today, poor, is a slightly distorted word. Pleasure is a deep feeling of peace and light, the realization that you feel good, happy. The innate desire of the human being is to experience that feeling of fulfillment. I always say that I will die fully. I have not lost my life, I have enjoyed it, and I have had moments of immense pleasure. The glory in life.
What do you gain as you get older?
Age leaves you more and more languid physically, we are a machine that wears out, but in return it gives you enormous clarity. As in some way your performance in life is already done, because you worry less about your performance and more about having a good time, about living things.