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Eduardo Berliner


Eduardo Berliner (1978) is a Brazilian artist who has studied graphic design in Brazil and has obtained his Masters of Arts in Type design from the University of Reading (U.K.), in 2003. Now he works as an artist and a professor. In 2004 he developed a course in typography for the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Later on he worked as a lecturer in the same university. He has created, with the artist Cadu, a graphic structure for a newspaper “museumuseu” a project conceived by Brazilian artist Mabe Bethonico, exhibited in the 27th biennial of San Paolo. He has also worked in the fashion industry by designing motifs for various fashion clothing brands in Brazil.

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We met Eduardo Berliner in his studio which is quite big and filled with his works and pictures of all sorts. During our meeting we talked about diverse issues. We discussed a lot about his work and he explained to us the different processes he follows, while at the same time showing us his sketch books. We also talked about his relationship with the city, with the other artists and with the arts market.

Eduardo is very young, he is 31 years old and teaches at the University besides being an artist. He is also a graphic designer and graduated with a M.A. in Type from the University of Reading in the UK.

Our meeting started with talking about his work and his approach to painting. He explained to us that usually he does some kind of sketch, drawing or collage before painting. However he decided later not to follow this process anymore and to directly start painting without creating a precise base. He finds it necessary to change processes in order to avoid repeating a successful result. He calls the fact of changing the process “creating traps for myself”. For example in one of his works that we had seen at the MAC-Niteroi, he had started from a drawing, but then half way through the process other images came in that he had prepared for other paintings and everything got mixed together.

He also draws on canvases that are mounted on wood, (like he does in his sketch books) because for him the drawing is very important. He draws to have an autonomous structure that he will later mix with the painting. However he doesn’t classify his art as drawing art or painting art, he doesn’t like to classify things. Going deeper in the drawing issue he explains that when you start drawing very well then probably something is going wrong. This is because a good drawing, he says, starts with a very bad drawing initially. This is something he is very aware of and keeps in mind each time he is painting. This is why he thinks art works will only happen if he arrives to a point in which he destroys part of his work and gets really lost. Something has to go wrong or something weird has to occur, otherwise his work doesn’t even start.

He needs to have a certain level of improvisation in his work and not only work with something predefined. So he will usually start with a certain base of predetermination and then he gets to the point where he can improvise with the many sources of inspiration in his studio. The improvisation is part of the changing process and “creating traps” for himself. Usually he uses bi-dimensional inspirations such as newspapers, his own pictures and other elements, but at times he has used three dimensional objects as well. One such instance occurred after he had looked at pictures of Soutine’s paintings that are filled with carcasses.  After a visit to an old house where he used to go in his childhood, now empty, but previously filled with animals, he decided he was going to paint a rabbit. So he went to the butcher and asked for a rabbit. He then brought it home, defrosted it and painted it, paying close attention to the eye which he considers the most important part. Painting from this object is for him going in another direction and changing the process. It is different compared to the other paintings since they are based on a collage of different elements like a metaphor of the way we gather information everyday. This one instead is based on a strong three dimensional real image.

Eduardo has been drawing since he was a child, but started working with oil on canvas in 2002. When we asked him about his group of friends he said that most of them are artists, some of who he met in Charles Watson’s classes, others are among his graduated students, while others are designers. Concerning the relationship he has with them he gave us the specific example of his relationship with his friend and artist Cadu Costa, who we had the chance to meet two days earlier. They worked together on a series of prints on metal, the year before. As for the future, they are planning to create a work together, which will consist of making a series of drawings in one place. He explained that they will work in a single place where Eduardo will draw for half a day and then Cadu will work on the drawing, but without meeting Eduardo. He calls it “a dialogue without words”. From this example we understand that he does parallel works besides what he sells, with his friends that are artists.

Eduardo believes it’s not necessary to go through an art college in order to become an artist, even if he followed this route. He thinks that networks between artist are created naturally. He met most of his friends who are artists through other friends, and not at university.

About the art market he realizes that it has grown in the past years. Previously, you would have had to participate in an art contest in order to become known. He believes that today there are many parallel ways to enter the market; like through small galleries willing to present your works, so he doesn’t think that the art fairs are necessary anymore.

Eduardo has been in contact with his collectors during the past year, because before he sold little. Now, he knows some of them and has good relations with them, talking about his work. Of course there are still some that he doesn’t know.

During the whole meeting Eduardo showed us many artworks and a lot of his sketchbooks. This was a great opportunity in order to understand what his sources of inspiration are and how he works. It is clear that he mixes his reality of everyday life by taking for example pictures of his nephews with other elements he finds causally either in the newspaper or in other sources. His work seems to involve the unconscious a lot, letting it express itself freely like in dreams where elements of the ordinary day get mixed up with elements from the past.

by Fiammetta Griccioli

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