Exhibitions

The exhibition:

Controluce ("Against light") is an exhibition of urban figures and crowds from a variety of cities, New York, Paris, Brussels and Nice. Painting, watercolor, collage and printmaking often in combination, are the techniques through which the artist interprets and fixes his most recent impressions of the contemporary city.

Michele Tavola, curator of the exhibition:
"The Italian artist and printmaker Nicola Villa combines the technical ability of an old master with the gaze of a modern observer who lives and breathes in the contemporary urban tissue ... His inspiration comes from everyday life and the will to see and interpret reality from a modern vantage point. The city is the perfect social aquarium, the ideal place for observation and elaboration of images that tell stories, that speak of us, of today, stories that compel and interrogate our experience."

The artist:

Nicola Villa was born in 1976 in Lecco, a small town in Lombardy on lake Como in Italy, where he began drawing and painting as a young boy. He went on painting through his studies at the prestigious Milan Polytechnic from which he received his architectural diploma in 2004. He, however, chose art over architecture as a vocation and pursued his artistic studies by studying printmaking in the best printing workshops in Milan: Linati, Pierluigi Puliti, Giorgio Upiglio and at Arte Tre with Alberto Serighelli, the printmaker for Michelangelo Pistoletto and Mimo Palladino. In 2007 he was part of the first group of Italian artists to be invited by the Harlem Studio Fellowship for a year’s residence in New York. He received the prestigious Celeste prize for his work inspired by Harlem.


He is one of six Italian artists - including Mimo Paladino, Nicola de Maria, Ettore Spalleti, Nicola Samorì and the photographer Giovanni Chiaromonte - chosen by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi in 2011 to illustrate a contemporary edition of the four gospels, the Nuovo Evangeliario Ambrosiano for the cathedral of Milan.

Today the artist works in a great studio in a beautiful baroque building in the old town of Genoa in Liguria. He exhibits his art regularly in galleries and art fairs in Italy, France and Great Britain.

The art:

Nicola Villa never quite forgot his years as a student of architecture at the Milan Polytechnic. Though the human figure is very much at the center of his art, the passers-by observed in the streets of his hometown, Genoa, or in the towns he visits on his many trips abroad, are always inserted into a geometric framework and the ambient light of a subtly indicated urban framework. The inhabitants of Harlem, the businessmen of Milan in their sharp suits and the aging prostitutes of the port of Genoa, are all integrated into the spaces of their respective cities. They "structure" by their presence, whether static or on the move, the surrounding urban environment and reflect the varied sociology and constant flux of the modern city. Nicola Villa takes up the study of the modern city where Impressionist artists like Renoir or Monet, or early 20th century painters like George Bellows or Walter Sickert left off. His, is a resolutely modern form of Impressionism, whose graphic style is reminiscent of the 1960s, combining classic techniques - aquatint, paint on canvas and watercolor - with contemporary imagery - photography, collage and digital fragmentation.

The curator:

Michele Tavola was born in Lecco in Lombardy in 1973. After his graduation in literary studies from the University of Milan, he obtained a scholarship to study at the Fondazione Longhi and the Scuola di Specializzazione in storia dell’arte in Florence. He received his doctorate in the history of art at the University of Turin. He has worked as art critic for Radio Popolare di Milano and the daily newspaper La Repubblica. Author of an important manual and dictionary of the of the history of art for the publisher Alpha Test, he was also a member of the scientific committee of the review Art App and the San Fedele art prize in Milan.He is currently director of the collection Impronte – monografie d’arte digitali for the publisher Emuse, and author for the same collection of a monograph on Joan Miró as well as the following titles: La poesia della pittura, Michelangelo, La potenza della forma, Picasso incisore, L’avventura del segno. He has curated numerous exhibitions for Italian museums and galleries featuring, notably, the works of Goya, Picasso, Matisse, Miró, Chagall, Dubuffet and Rouault. From 2010 to 2015 he was the municipal councilor for culture and director of the art museum of the city of Lecco.

Le Huit:

Founded in 2012, Le Huit, is a new art space in the 10th arrondissement in Paris, the result of the collaboration of ten young people from the milieus of art, literature and communication: Mayli Grouchka, Léo Cogos, Théodore Famery, Eliot Leblanc, Louis Ziegle, Sonia Ye, Ethan Assouline and Cécile Malgouyres.
Its aim is to bring a breath of spontaneity and fresh air in the often humdrum and unadventurous contemporary Paris art scene. Le Huit hosts more or less ephemeral exhibitions and happenings that last a few days, a week or a month by artists from a great variety of backgrounds. « We noticed that many young creators in mixed media were looking for a dynamic space more supple and flexible than the traditional galleries ». Fashion shows by the group D.Time’s, satirical cartoons by de the blog writer Tiffany Cooper, group shows by art students held for the Huit Thursdays, but also art dinners and pop-up conceptual boutiques are all held at Le Huit. Every event is new or unprecedented and contributes to the steady advance of the cultural art scene of Right Bank Paris further north to the Great Boulevards, between République and Strasbourg-Saint Denis.

Léo Cogos, Cécile Malgouyres, Eliot Leblanc, Théodore Famery:



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Place: Le Huit, 8 boulevard Saint-Martin 75010 Paris
Metro: Strasbourg-Saint Denis or République

Dates: 12 - 24 May 2015
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday, 14h - 19h / Saturday and Sunday, 11h - 19h
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Controluce - Urban Spaces and Figures:

Controluce - Figures in the City:

Conroluce - Faces:

Controluce - Urban Tales, prints:

Controluce - Oils on canvas:

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