Eduardo Batarda, ‘III (Polished To Perfection)’, 2016, WORKPLACE

Eduardo Batarda is one of the most important living Portuguese artists. His complex oeuvre oscillates between figuration and abstraction, erudition and superficiality. Its subversive humour, and veiled cultural and social critique can be understood in the context of Portugal and the cultural climate created by the authoritarian Estado Novo dictatorship (1932 - 1974). The two canvases in the exhibition were made after his Misquoteros exhibition at EDP foundation in Portugal. The texts were selected and taken out of context by traditional processes of collage and chance. Found mainly on the internet, Batarda uses lame jokes, popular psychology, dictionaries, sociology, and other sources of the banal. Reworked over the year on a computer, the quotes are decontextualised, reorganised and left open to free association before being painted over an abstracted ground informed by previous works by the artist. Deliberately refusing "to meddle with social and global problems [the works] self-consciously dissociate themselves from the problems of life in death (in other words from the broad consensus), about which everyone, no doubt, expects artists to pontificate." The act of painting text releases the artist from the traditional dichotomy of illusion and abstraction and the heavy history of painting, thus liberating his practice from cliché.

About Eduardo Batarda