Manolo Valdés – In Glass

Manolo Valdés, Dr Kosme de Barañano

A large-format publication documenting a body of sculptural works in glass and mixed media created in 2020-21 by internationally acclaimed, New York-based Spanish artist Manolo Valdés (b.1942, Valencia). The book's author, Dr Kosme de Barañano, discusses the abstracted, human-like busts, contextualizing them in the artist's wider practice.
Date Published :
June 2022
Publisher :
Anomie Publishing
Contributor(s) :
Peter Willberg
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781910221372
Pages : 112
Dimensions : 13.4 X 10.6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


For over half a century, Valencia-born, New York-based Manolo Valdés has been a prominent international figure in the arena of contemporary art, known for his work in the mediums of sculpture, painting, drawing, and collage. In this striking and imposing publication, designed in close dialogue with the artist by Peter B. Willberg and produced in Italy, Valdés presents a body of thirty-five sculptures created in 2020 and 2021. Along with wood, alabaster, aluminum, steel, and resin, the primary medium employed in this body of work is glass, following a significant and intense period of research and experimentation.

The resulting works are engaging contemporary portrait busts that make reference to the history of modernist painting and sculpture, taking inspiration from imagery and objects by twentieth-century masters such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Constantin Brancusi. Developing his "recipes" for their fabrication––materials, processes, conditions, and timings––with both care and flair, Valdés has created sculptural glass busts in a range of amber oranges, ruby reds, emerald greens, sapphire blues, and onyx blacks, all of which almost seem to glow with what Dr Kosme de Barañano, the book’s author, describes as "an inner light".

Barañano’s comprehensive and illuminating essay not only investigates aspects of the history of glass making and its use as a material by artists past and present, but also traces the evolution of the language and forms of Valdés’s glass and mixed-media works across a number of key exhibitions and bodies of work over the course of the past two decades. These include his monumental sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden in 2012 and his dramatic solo presentation in the Place Vendôme in Paris in 2016, both of which offered opportunities to see the artist’s large-scale sculptural works in outdoor settings. Discussing the significance of "Cabezas" (heads) in his oeuvre, Barañano asserts: “These glass 'Cabezas' are tremendously somber and simple works from which emanates a profound silence.”

This large-format publication, which is illustrated by specially commissioned photography by Tom Powel, documents many of the sculptures from different angles and by means of details, revealing not only the subtleties and qualities of the surfaces of the abstracted, human-like glass heads, but also the curious and eclectic appendages that regularly appear to burst forth from them like unorthodox fascinators or eccentric jewelry, from nails and steel rods to glass or metal butterflies and wooden geometric forms. With a timelessness that speaks of civilizations long gone and a modernity that simultaneously seems to look to the future, Valdés has created a body of sculpture in glass that transcends time, touching on the metaphysical nature of the human mind and its outward manifestation in the physical world.

About The Author

Manolo Valdés (b.1942, Valencia) is one of the most significant post-war Spanish artists. A key member of the Equipo Crónica until 1981, in 1989 he moved to New York. Major solo exhibitions include the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Reina Sofía, Madrid, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Place Vendôme, Paris.

Kosme de Barañano is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Altea, Spain. A former professor at the University of the Basque Country (Bilbao) and in Heidelberg, Germany, he served as Deputy Director of the Museo Nacional Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain, and Executive Director of IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno), in Valencia, Spain.

Peter Willberg is a designer based in London, UK.

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