"The Magician of Colour" Galdos Rivas Guest of Honour of the XIV Florence Biennale 2023
On the occasion of the XIV Florence Biennale 2023, Enrique Galdos Rivas will be Guest of Honour and receive the “Lorenzo il Magnifico” Lifetime Achievement Award from the President. The Florence Biennale will display a series of his works, and a retrospective dedicated to him will also be projected during a musical performance by his daughters Martha Galdos and Blanca Galdos and their ensemble.
Born in Lima, Peru in 1933, Enrique Gerardo Galdos Rivas is a Peruvian painter and engraver. He studied drawing and painting at the National School of Fine Arts of Peru where he received a scholarship for his outstanding talent and graduated in 1959 with a Gold Medal (First prize). In 1961 he traveled to Brazil, with a scholarship granted by the Itamaraty Chancellery. In 1967 he obtained a scholarship that took him to Argentina, from where he moved to Rio de Janeiro and New York, to continue his specialization in engraving techniques. In his first decade of career, the artist had already accumulated awards and notable participation such as the Cordova Biennial, the São Paulo Biennial, and the Paris Biennial. He became part of the select group of Latin American artists leading abstractionism, encouraged by the Organization of American States, through the Department of Visual Arts of the Pan-American Union.
Galdos Rivas ventures to break with the knowledge learned and transgresses the usual ocher and sepia tones in the painting of the 50s, to vehemently reproduce the luminous color of church stained glass windows. Due to his extraordinary use of colors, he received the nickname "The Magician of Colour" (Karl Buccholz, Colombia, 1979).
Likewise, the artist dedicates himself to breaking down everything he learned, transmuting pre-Hispanic figures and iconographies with singular mastery. Due to the incorporation of designs and forms of pre-Columbian expressions, Galdos Rivas is considered a painter who links the avant-garde of the second half of the 20th century with the ancestral iconography of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Peru (Mochica, Nasca, Paracas, Chavín, among others), considered by critics as an artist of Ancestralism (Treccani Encyclopedia of Contemporary Art, Milano, 2021; Ancestralism, Rith-Magni, Isabel, 1994). The artist is mentioned as a reference for this trend and its variables in more than 40 international publications.
The Romanian specialist María Roxana Bischin indicates that “his works combine a multitude of modernist and abstract styles in an original way. With Galdos Rivas, contemporary Peruvian art paved the way for a more humanized geometry in art, of lively tones; the metaphysical transgression of colors (...) he practices a variety of modernisms in the arts of our century. With all these tendencies, Galdos Rivas stands out as a representative of the Abstract Neofiguration of the 20th and 21st centuries”.
The Italian critic Maurizio Scudiero (2018) points out: "Speaking of Peru, one cannot speak of archaeology; for this reason, the fact of being an artist in this country carries a sociological dimension, since it enters into the mechanisms of "collective memory". This is what essentially Galdos's work is like finding significant signs and figures in the history of ancient and solar people, then metabolizing and composing them on a contemporary level".
In his 70-year career, he has exhibited in multiple galleries and museums in America, Europe, and Asia, including the National Museum of China (Beijing), Jin Tai Museum (Beijing), the Israel Ibero-American Institute Gallery (New York), Buccholz Gallery (Bogotá), Museum of Contemporary Art (Panama), Astreia Gallery (Rio de Janeiro), Museum of the Americas (Puerto Rico), "Ateneo de Madrid" Gallery (Madrid), Casa de la Cultura (Quito), Panamerican Union (Washington D.C.), Kimberly Gallery (Washington D.C.), Philadelphia Art Alliance (Philadelphia), Canning House (London), Weidendamm Gallery (Berlin), Quadri Center (Verdamo), Picasso Hall (New York), Sivori Museum (Buenos Aires). He has participated in the I, II, and IV Biennial of Paris, VI, VII, VIII, XVI Biennial of São Paulo, Biennial of Livorno, Biennial of Indigenous Art (Quito), Biennial of Buenos Aires, Ibero-American Biennial of Madrid and III and VII Beijing Biennale, among others.
The artist has received more than 30 distinctions throughout his career as a teacher and plastic artist, including Meritorious Personality of Culture from the Ministry of Culture of Peru (2018), Diploma of Recognition granted by the Congress of the Republic of Peru (2016), Cristóbal Colón Award, Madrid, Spain (1984), Honorable Mention VII São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (1965); V Prize II Cordova Biennial, Argentina (1964), Municipality of Lima Prize (1960), National Ignacio Merino Prize (1960), amongst many recognitions of localities and companies of Peru.