Some notes about Álvaro Lapa (1939-2006) under the rubric Um dia, uma obra ("One day, one work").

Álvaro Lapa was born in Évora. He was a student of two great figures of Portuguese culture who influenced his career as an artist: António Charrua and Vergílio Ferreira. in the field of visual arts, he assumed an isolated and self-taught attitude. He moved to Lisbon in 1956, having attended the Law course, during which he published a text on Kafka and participated in an "Art Mission", in Évora, where he came into contact with Abstract Expressionism. He completed his degree in Philosophy in 1975 at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Oporto (FLUP). He was a professor of theoretical chairs at the Oporto College of Fine Arts and, in the 1980s, he met José-Augusto França, who guides him in his doctoral thesis on Surrealism in Portugal. In 1961, he went to Paris, where he contacted painters close to Surrealism and North-American artistic movements. On his return to Lisbon, encouraged by António Areal, he began to paint, conceiving works of abstractionist and informal vocation.

He exhibited individually for the first time in 1964 at Gallery 111, presenting himself hereafter at the Divulgação Gallery and Buchholz Gallery. He contacts with the sculptor João Cutileiro in 1965 and, at this time, decides to explore less "noble" materials, structuring his work in narrative series, in which he integrates a restricted and personal set of symbols and forms, as well as the use of the written word as an element of plastic composition.

He was awarded several prizes, among which the 2nd prize at the "Coimbra’s Ribbon Burning Exhibition", in 1968; the 3rd prize at the I Salão de Arte de Lagos (“1st Lagos Art Salon"), in 1970; the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) Prize (1987); and the "Energias de Portugal (EDP) Grand Prix" (2004).

In 2003, he decorated the Odivelas Station of the Lisbon Underground.

In parallel to plastic production, Lapa dedicated himself to writing, having authored several publications, including the works Raso Como o Chão ("Shallow as the Floor”), in 1974; Barulheira (“Noise”), in 1976; and Porque Morreu Eanes (“Why Eanes Died”), in 1977. In 1998, Artistas Unidos ("United Artists”) premiered "MIKADO", a show based on texts by Álvaro Lapa, Alberto Cinza and William Burroughs.

Credits: MUDAS. Madeira Contemporary Art Museum