Zen-Inspired Gestural, Informal and/or Calligraphic Painting

Eurico Gonçalves


The result of several visits to Eurico Gonçalves’ studio located in the CML studio complex in Coruchéus, above the Quadrum Gallery, where the artist showcased his work in 1978, this exhibition, organised by the Municipal Galleries/EGEAC in association with the Lisbon Municipal Directorate of Culture, features a wide selection of previously unseen works – paintings on paper.

These works, identified by the artist himself as works of Zen-Inspired Gestural, Informal and/or Calligraphic Painting, were in the possession of well-known critic, art historian and brother of the artist, Rui Mário Gonçalves, until his death in 2014.

Influenced by Surrealism, Dadaism and Zen Buddhist philosophy – for example, it may be recalled that in 1963, Japanese Zen author Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – Eurico Gonçalves’s work was developed on the basis of a spontaneous and at times markedly informal visual and pictorial automatism of an anti-academic nature, that from the 1960s gave rise to a lyrical, gestural abstractionism of a very intuitive nature.

Exposing the nakedness of the medium and using only India ink, Eurico Gonçalves makes use of the semiotic qualities of ink stains on paper and understands the artist’s work as a way of approaching life and its flow, underlining the continuity between art and life with contrasting intensities, empty spaces, dynamics and rhythms.

The more than fifty works on display, showcase an experimental period of Eurico Gonçalves that is strongly marked by works circulating in the European and international cultural fabric at the time – the artist himself recognising these various influences.
These experiments essentially arise from an exploration of the relationship between the unconscious and the vitality of the creative gesture, more and less contained, promoting the free flow of the pictorial material, affording a role to chance and denying form, which, in the words of the artist himself, construct a work “without correction or retouching that, in my view, finds affinities with the vitalism of Dada”.

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With text by
Zen-Inspired Gestural, Informal and/or Calligraphic Painting
Sara Antónia Matos and Pedro Faro, Lígia Afonso