Latinamerican Art

Eduardo Berliner (born 1978, lives and works in Rio de Janeiro)

Eduardo Berliner has a great deal to tell, both to himself and to us. For many years, he has been incessantly incorporating his inexhaustible repertoire of unprecedented visualizations into his artistic production…

Master of techniques

There seems to be no technique that he doesn’t take to like a duck to water, adopting all with apparent ease and applying them to perfection. He paints, he draws, and he performs all sorts of graphic methods, which means that he usually remains within two dimensions. This is more than sufficient, for his ability to fill his works with inspirational imagination and his abundance of innovational ideas let his works stand out from those of many of his colleagues. Berliner cannot be assigned to any particular artistic movement; for one thing because such movements no longer exist within painting (much to the chagrin of many a colleague), and for another because good art cannot be pigeonholed in the first place.

Peixes, 2015, Oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm

Obsessions and outstanding art

What he presents to us in infinite variations and shades is an excerpt from his mental and spiritual inner world, intensely infused with obsessive traits. But like all truly good artists, Berliner has the capability of artistically objectifying his obsessions so as not to trigger the viewer’s immediate psychological involvement, but to rather endow his art with a character that is abstract and universal. He transmits to us a private, innermost world of images that would be unbearable in itself if it remained at a purely chatty, anecdotal level. He does not spare us; but in turn he conducts us into his enchanted world full of incredible, metamorphotic events and magical, hybrid, interwordly half-human, half-animal creatures that are utterly and brutally maimed, mutilated, and impaired, without, however, seeming to suffer from it. As observers we are thus, nolens volens, exposed to these cruelly battered beings without necessarily having to suffer ourselves. In fact, we rather find ourselves coolly dissecting and analyzing the illustrations and scenes that despite their drastic representational character nevertheless appear quasi abstract. 

Proximity to fables

It is as if Berliner immerses us in a world of fabulous fairytale creatures, a world with its own immanent laws that are incompatible with ours, and that are therefore not capable of harming us. In a number of his works, Berliner explicitly refers to Aesop, the forefather of all fables who was influential in the ancient Greek world of the 6thand 5thpre-Christian centuries. Similar to Aesop’s fables, mythical elements merge with purely secular ones in Berliner’s pictures, while the artist himself assumes no evaluative or judgmental attitude whatsoever. 

Tartaruga, 2019, Oil on wood, 100 x 105 cm

Surrealist traits

Berliner’s works remind us of the great predecessor of Surrealism, Comte de Lautréamont, who coined the line that the Surrealists made popular in the 20thcentury to describe Surrealism «as beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table». Although art historians nowadays hesitate to use the tag «Surrealism» for anything outside precisely this 20thcentury stylistic movement, Berliner’s works doubtlessly fulfill several criteria of Surrealism. This not only applies to the above-mentioned collaging of unusual pictorial elements, but first and foremost to recognizing and admitting the own intuitional powers and to teasing out the unconscious and subconscious for the purpose of dealing with them in the artistic process.

Keeping the mystery intact

On the surface, Eduardo Berliner comes across as an unassuming, yet decent and cultivated office clerk. With the narrative pleasure of a child and with outward eagerness, he talks about his works in seeming frankness. In fact, however, he neither discloses nor divulges any details on the creative process of his works; he neither relinquishes their mysterious character nor does he forfeit their eerie features that we again and again fall prey to. The attempt to ascertain whether the artist’s iconographic range is rooted in any specific phobias or inclinations is insignificant. He simply presents us with highly diverse and exceedingly prolific pictorial material for possible contemplation and for us to draw our own ideas from. And in terms of drawing and painting, he achieves all of this to a degree of perfection that should actually form the foundation of all artistic creation.

  1. I am glad that you have done some thing with painting! Excelent articule, buenísimas las pinturas.

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