Villazan is pleased to present Ricky Powell and Paul Solberg: "Finding Fame and Storytelling", a two-person exhibition of photographs by American artists. Curated by Tania Fer and featuring a suite of photographs spanning from across each artist's career, "Finding Fame and Storytelling" opens at Villazan’s Madrid gallery.

"Finding Fame and Storytelling" explores celebrity, beauty, and the underlying narratives that shape our perceptions through Powell and Solberg's lens, from Powell unveiling instants from the lives of famous artists in New York City to Solberg allowing viewers’ imagination to complete the picture.

Powell's lens serves as a portal to downtown Manhattan across the decades, with every frame catching a glimpse of young tastemakers or notable figures in the twilight of their celebrity. With New York’s streets serving as a type of candid theater, his photographs pull the viewers inside a dance of idols making their way around an iconic city. Powell, whose works were exhibited at Villazan New York in 2015 alongside Javier Porto’s in "The Incredible Keith", offers viewers an insider's perspective on high-profile personalities, and yet in each photograph he finds his celebrated subjects slightly less than posed, and slightly more human.

In contrast, Solberg's photographs delve into intimacy and introspection as he explores the beauty and allure of the male form through cropped studies of the body. With a keen eye for detail and composition, Solberg's photographs transcend mere representation, inviting viewers to contemplate the complex interplay of light, shadow, and form.

With Powell's celebrities, the spectator faces a decisive moment, such as Warhol and Basquiat walking through Soho. Meanwhile, the soft presence of Solberg's subjects elude such specificity but find a sense of deep freedom. Approaching image-making from near-opposite lenses but uniting in their commitment to photography, both Powell and Solberg demonstrate a mastery of their medium, capturing moments frozen in time that echo with emotion.

The predominantly black-and-white of the exhibition adds a timeless quality to the photographs, enhancing the sense of nostalgia and poignancy inherent in each image. Whether capturing the frenetic energy of the city streets or the quiet contemplation of a solitary figure, Powell and Solberg each demonstrate an intense ability to evoke passion.

Ricky Powell (b. 1961, Brooklyn, NY - d. 2021, New York, NY) discovered his passion for photography in the 1980s while working as a bike messenger trekking across New York and encountering its unique character through both the people he came across and the graffiti-bearing walls of the city. Powell documented popular culture such, as pop art, punk rock, and hip hop. His photographs have been featured in Time, Daily News, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the New York Post, among others. Ricky Powell was affectionately known as the "Fourth Beastie Boy" for his close ties to the iconic musical group.

Paul Solberg (b. 1971, St. Paul, MN) studied Anthropology at the University of Cape Town before moving to New York City in 1996. Solberg held many positions outside the world of photography before embarking on a career as an artist. Recognized first for his acclaimed flower portraits, his photographs are held in numerous collections, including the Elton John Photography Collection. Solberg has exhibited his work internationally, including at the American Embassy, Kyiv; Macedonian Museum of Contemporary, Thessaloniki; La Casa Encendida, Madrid; Fahey Klein Gallery, LA; and Ralph Pucci International, NY, among others.

(Text by Tania Fer.)