Moisès Villèlia

1928 - 1994

Biography

Barcelona, 1928 – Barcelona, 1994

Son of a renowned carver, Moisès Villèlia’s childhood is marked by the pre-war political environment. His work will always be influenced by two factors: popular crafts and avant-garde art. In 1954 he held his first exhibition at the Municipal Museum of Mataró, together with that of his friend Rabasseda. He then presents some reliefs that combine modernism and the influence of Eastern philosophy, which will be a constant in Villèlia since his first readings as a teenager. Brossa goes to see this exhibition, establishing a friendship between the two that leads him to meet the Dau al Set group and Joan Prats.

From his artisanal roots, he will begin to treat materials in their purest state, with wood being one of his favorites. A group of artists began to form around Villèlia and, under the name Art Actual, exhibited in 1955 at the Municipal Museum of Mataró. His work tends towards formal purification, influenced by Angel Ferrant and Alberto Giacometti, as well as oriental art. In 1957 he tried working only with natural erosion on wood and, due to economic needs, he tried cheap materials such as threads, wires and buttons, and organic materials such as pumpkin. The following year he exhibited in the Gaspar Room, where the first reeds that would henceforth constitute his main means of expression were seen. His exhibition in Mataró in 1959 was famous: Joan Prats brought Miró and Pierre Matisse, and from there arose the first collaborations with architects, opening up to new materials such as concrete, wrought iron, or fiber cement.

The reeds begin to be articulated in mobiles, under the influence of those of Ferrant and Calder. He is also dedicated to garden design, where his knowledge of art and Japanese gardening comes to the fore. He died in Barcelona in November 1994.