Oriol Vilanova’s practice centers around recovering and re-contextualizing cultural artifacts — especially (but not exclusively) picture postcards acquired in flea markets — into contemporary art works that generate a critical yet lively reflection on issues such as the role of images in transmitting culture and cultural values, historically as well as in today’s image-centric and image-saturated world; how worth is established, manipulated and maintained in the art-world’s peculiar economic micro-system; and the engineered mechanics that enable exhibition circuits to function as framing devices that endow or withhold artistic validation and meaning.
Beyond its conceptual polyvalence, Vilanova’s work exerts a powerful aesthetic presence, most often in carefully orchestrated installations and nuanced sculptural objects. Drawing on archival and collecting processes of accumulation and classification, Vilanova’s postcard installations often take the form of mosaic-like in situ murals organized on intersecting combinations of content, color and category, emphasizing the persistence of the analog in a digital world. At the same time, Vilanova’s subtle but informed methodology also draws on strategies characteristic of much contemporary art, such as seriality, modularity and appropriation.
In addition to his work with repurposed objects, Vilanova’s larger practice encompasses multiple forms and formats, including architectural intervention, performance, collaborative projects, photography, video and text. Ultimately, Vilanova’s full body of work examines how not only cultural artifacts but even ideas themselves are subject to subjectively determined processes of circulation, categorization and elimination.