Ani Villanueva (Venezuela, 1954,) a multifaceted artist who, from the starting point of her training in modern dance, began her career in the 1980s as a performance artist, made videos, and explored the theater. In the 1990s she started experimenting with painting, in a figurative vein as she puts it, almost fauve, pop and abstract, only to move forward in a different direction, more in the realm of what could be defined as conceptual and spatial, a line of work that experiments, analyzes, and reflect on itself, for the last three years. We could say that her interest focuses not only in the expressive potential of a given material (plastic,) but also in its capacity to conduct and project light towards changes in color and in its stability in space; in that sense, we are talking about a new proposal in kinetic art.
From many different experiences, Ani Villanueva has arrived at her latest explorations in the sensible field of the most “insignificant” of everyday objects.
Bélgica Rodríguez Art Nexus 2004
The career of Ani Villanueva—a visual artist, dancer, performance artist, video artist, and digital photographer—is marked by great vitality. Indeed, Villanueva’s work flows from a passion for life and art that is expressed though the various media she has explored. In the 1980s, she created performances to accompany works by other artists, intending to give them movement and life: as Villanueva has pointed out, she used her body to introduce “the human factor into the motionless” and to create unexpected situations it was Villanueva’s family environment that guided her toward art after studying psychology, sociology, business, and contemporary dance. As the daughter, granddaughter, niece, and cousin of artists, Villanueva benefited from the natural accumulation of artistic references since childhood.
Villanueva’s passion for life is fueled by nature. From performance art, which she still practices, Villanueva moved on to painting. This period coincided with the construction of a bahareque house in the coastal rainforest town of Choroní. She declares that exploring that kind of figurativism was “a way to understand nature.”
Knowing about this process is important to understanding more recent changes in Villanueva’s work. After the explosively chromatic paintings, which were subject in a way to visible reality, she explored three dimensions by assembling industrial scraps into sculptural objects that also expressed her vital passion.
Susana Benko Art Nexos 2007