PRESS RELEASE _________________________________________________________________ APRIL 2010
Edoardo Daniele Villa was born in Italy in 1915. In 1939 he was called up for two years Military service, and in 1940 he was posted to North Africa, where he was injured and captured in Egypt by the English. He was shipped to South Africa where he then spent the next four years at the Zonderwater prisoner of war camp.
“After being a prisoner of war in South Africa I decided to stay and start my career because of the opportunities available for the youth, the ‘open space’ as opposed to the ‘closed’ life of a continental. Everything in Europe I felt had been done, questioned and exhausted. Here, in Africa, I felt I had the opportunity to explore ... If anything could sum up my fundamental concern in art, it is that of the human and the individual – the human condition …. Museums are marvellous but human participation, physical proximity and tactile engagement are more important.” 1
Cast in bronze and at over 2 metres tall, Mapogga Man has a monumental, hieratic, god-like, totemic quality. Part warrior, part angel, part machine, part man, the figurative form is represented by fragments which intersect and bisect one another, yet form a dynamic whole. While the influence of Cubism may clearly be seen in this piece, with it’s linear and faceted structures, this too had its antecedents in the “geometrically articulated surfaces of African sculpture”2.
“These African influences have served as a catalyst to Villa’s work, as has the informing hybrid austerity of modernism. The combination of the archaic, archetypal characteristics of African art with the liberation of modernity and the technology of the new industrial world has played itself out throughout Villa’s creative career.”3
The interplay between the various surfaces and light, solid form and space, combine to create a piece that speaks on a primal level that stands not just a powerful visual and tactile statement but also elicits a heightened emotional response.
Mapogga Man is coming under the hammer on 1 June 2010 with a pre-sale estimate of R450 000 – 550 000.
1 Villa quoted from an interview with Allan Crump – catalogue for the exhibition Sculpture by Eduardo Villa 1985 to 1987 – Johannesburg Art Gallery June 9 to July 12 1987.
2 Villa at 90, p. 122.
3 Villa at 90, p. 144.
For enquiries please call 021-794-6461.