Rodolfo Villaplana

Rodolfo Villaplana

London, London, United Kingdom

About Rodolfo Villaplana

"What Villaplana achieves with his paintings is not exposing naked bodies for the sake of nudity, but rather for the sake of the being, of stripping them down to who they really are, actually being nude rather than naked. This has the effect of making the portraits more intimate and therefore more uncomfortable for us the observers, bringing our own fears and insecurities to the forefront of our minds."

Limor Gottlieb

Rodolfo Villaplana did an MA in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Art graduating in 2013. The Venezuelan, London based artist achieved incredible success in the Young Masters prize 2013 and the London Art Fair 2014 (all sold-out). His last solo show in Venice ANARCHIVOLTO, during the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 in Massimiliana Tower, has been another sign that Rodolfo is establishing himself as one of the most interesting figurative painters in contemporary art scene.
curator Olga MacKenzie


MA fine arts 2013,
Chelsea college of Art.


Edited text to The naked and the Nude
by Michael Petry, MOCA London director.
for full text go to:
The young Venezuelan painter, Rodolfo Villaplana, aims to create a synthesis of abstraction and naturalistic figuration. A big ask, you might think?
He shows us an abstract, coloured space against which float naturalistic banana skins and plastic cups; then naked men and naked women.At first the subject matter doesn’t matter. But on reflection, it does – a leather armchair is not the same as bare flesh; a bunch of bananas are not the same as erect nipples or a stiff phallus.
If we see a painting of a naked woman by Lucian Freud (splayed out like a piece of Francis- Bacon-meat) then we feel the tension of what it means for a male artist to look at a female model. And when a male artist turns his gaze onto other men, then the tension builds. Male artists (who are not same sex lovers) generally do not gaze at other men, still less if they are nude. As it happens, Freud did: he looked at their penises and forced the viewer to do the same. Many viewers snigger, giggle or blush when viewing Nude with Leg Up (Leigh Bowery), but not so at the open labia of Freud’s paintings of his wife, daughters or female models. Exposing the penis exposes the patriarchy.
So what is Villaplana working towards? What does he want us to see in all that floating flesh, often seen with bits cut off by the frame of the painting, a missing leg here, a foot or arm there?
He has stated that the push-pull of the frame, the slippage of the image within the abstract and the realistic are at the core of his vision. But I think he may be a bit coy.
Villaplana usually works from a live model but some works are made from photographs and perhaps the one that best represents repression, male gaze and corruption is his huge (over 3 meter tall) painting Ratzinger Revisited. This former grand inquisitor of the Roman Church clasps his bejeweled hands together in a sort of clothed reverie. The image is familiar from many televisual and print presentations and while it might be more of a caricature than a portrait, it certainly shows in its scale how much Villaplana (from a Catholic Country) has felt the hand of religious and male oppression.
He is a young artist and in slaying the dragons of his past, both his artistic and religious fathers, so to speak, he frees himself to attempt even more difficult works.
He is one to gaze upon with interest.


October 2014
The Naked and the Nude. Solo show, curated by Olga MacKenzie. 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, London
June-september 2014
ANARCHIVOLTO. Solo Show, curated by Francesca Donata Brollo. Torre Massimiliana. Venice
June 2014
PINTA international art fair. Artlyst media stand. Earls Court exhibition center.
February 2014
Sweatshop. Group show. 55 Dalston Lane, London.
January 2014
London Art Fair. Cynthia Corbett gallery. Business design center. London
October 2013
YOUNG MASTERS PRIZE 2013 - Sphinx Fine Art. London
RAW - 44-48 Wharf rd, London.
September 2013
Chelsea College of art degree show - Chelsea College of art and design. Pimlico. London
July 2013
Transient Inhabitants - The invisible Line. Dalston. London
June 2013
RAW International - Hoxton Gallery. London
January 2012
Group Exhibition – Medici Gallery, 5 Cork Street, W1S 3LQ,
February 2011
Deyabú – paintings by Rodolfo Villaplana and Iván Romero.
Galería Espacios Libres del Municipio El Hatillo. Caracas.
July 2010
Venezuelan contemporary Art - paintings by Rodolfo
Villaplana and Iván Romero. Gift Gallery London
September 2008
Personal exhibition - paintings
Villa Cicolina, Montepulciano, Siena, Italy.
September 2007
Goup exhibition
La Générale, rue du Général Lassale, Paris 19ème.
September 2006
Personal exhibition - En el otro lado
Exhibition curator: Joan Diotaiuti
Galerie Altercultura, c/ Joachim Costa 24, nave 3,
Barcelona. ""
Catalogue: Rivista Galleria Antiquaria n. 253.
September 2006
Group exhibition - Sleep-no-sleep
Organized by P-Ink Europe during the White Night in Rome.
Exhibition curators: Elvira D'Ippoliti, Gabriela di Ventura
e Ilari Valbonesi.
Chiesa del Santo Volto di Gesù, Via della Magliana (XV
Comune), Rome.
June 2006
Group exhibition - Open studios
Art studios, Atelierhaus Mengerzeile. 1-3, mengerzeile st.
Octobre 2004
Group exhibition – Unplugged
Prenzlauer promenade, Berlin.
June 2004
Group exhibition - Open Studios
Art studios, Atelierhaus Mengerzeile. 1-3, mengerzeile st.
Personal exhibition
Erdbeer Space, Mitte, Berlin.
February 2003
Personal exhibition - Beata Ludovica Albertoni (series)
San Francesco d'Assisi a Ripa Grande, Trastevere, Roma.
"" ""
January 2003
Group exhibition - Y.I.A. (Young International Artists)
Social center Rialto Sant'Ambrogio al Ghetto, Roma.
June 2002
Group exhibition - Ci faremo sentire
Care of the city of Rome
Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, E.U.R., Roma.

Links to articles in English:

and ArtReview october 2014 issue.

in Spanish:
EFE news agency