GREAT MOMENTS: Eduardo Batarda in the 70s, at Fundação Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva
The exhibition Great Moments is at Fundação Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva, Lisbon, until January 17. Curated by João Mourão and Luís Silva, Great Moments presents some of the best works of Eduardo Batarda in the 70s.
The exhibition is distributed throughout the different spaces on the upper floor of the Foundation. It is a bold but consistent combination of the award-winning artist’s efforts – for the most part, works of watercolour and India ink on paper.
In Great Moments, the use of colour is abyssal, in the best sense of the adjective. The highlight is precisely the use of colour and contrast, creating small atmospheres and tiny multi-referential worlds, filled with details, shapes and figures.
In addition to the remarkable technical mastery, the dialogue with comics is also one of the strong points of the exhibition. This dialogue with a universe, traditionally or prejudicially considered as inferior, does not diminish the relevance of the works presented. On the contrary, the more than 40 works make even more sense, given their multiple influences and the very interactions that each work establishes with the following.
In another layer of meaning and reading, this game between references to comics, besides the use of techniques and materials considered minor, shows a rupture with the pattern established in the Portuguese reality about half a century ago. Still in a period marked by artistic, cultural and social formalism and conservatism, Batarda’s contribution to the reversal of that stale pattern is, to say the least, remarkable and meritorious.
In general, Great Moments is an intelligent and delicate curatorship by João Mourão and Luís Silva. Its logic succeeds in highlighting each of Eduardo Batarda’s works. Here, his universe of narratives, forms, figures and cross-references shines out, producing an interesting intercommunication between works. Besides this dynamic, there is a kind of semantic vortex, sustained by each one of them, individually.