Born 1946, Santiago, Chile. Lives and works Melbourne.
Over the last three decades Juan Davila’s paintings have interrogated cultural, sexual and social identities, resulting in a rich, complex and provocative body of work. Davila’s work has been shaped by the political upheaval during the Pinochet dictatorship of Chile in the 1970s, conveying the violence and psychological turmoil its citizens experienced. A distrust of nationalism and state control has formed a strong thread in Davila’s work ever since, extending to stinging and often hilarious critiques of the Australian political system, aspects of government policy, and public figures in Australia and Latin America.
Davila has exhibited widely throughout Australia, South and North America, and Europe since the 1970s and was included in the Biennale of Sydney (1982, 1984); Popism, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (1982); and Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1983, 1987). Other exhibitions include The Moral Meaning of Wilderness, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane and Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra (2011); Premonitions: Monash University Collection 1961–2007, McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria (2008); Andy and Oz: Parallel Visions, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2007); Documenta 12, Kassel, Germany (2007); This & Other Worlds: Contemporary Australian Drawing, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2006); and Arte Contemporaneo Chile: Desde el Otro Sitio/Lugar, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile (2006). Davila’s work was the subject of a retrospective at the MCA, Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 2006. A substantial monograph on his work, Juan Davila, was published by Miegunyah Press, Melbourne in 2006.
Davila is represented in numerous major state, regional and public collections in Australia, as well as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo in Spain.