"I place myself in front of the original image in the same way that an artist would sit in front of a tree, a lake or a landscape.”
Manolo Valdés (b. Valencia, Spain, 1942) is renowned for his unique drawings, paintings, sculptures, and prints that reference art historical motifs and symbols. He studied at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts but left before graduating in order to embark on his artistic career. He formed the group Equipo Crónica in 1964 with Juan Antonio Toledo and Rafael Solbes which, in contrast to the then-dominant Arte Informel, focused on art with political critique. Though Toledo left after a year, Valdés remained a member until Solbes’ death in 1981, and was included in over sixty solo and group exhibitions. Valdés then reinvented himself and began to take his inspiration from the history of art, including classical models and his Spanish predecessors such as Velázquez, Rembrandt, and Goya. Though the motifs are recognizable, Valdés removes from their context, abstracting them and minimizing detail. He tends to work in a large format with tactile surfaces. Valdés views these works as resulting in an interaction between the work and the viewer. He currently lives and works in both New York City and Madrid, Spain.