José Borges da Fonseca
Bernardo Pinto de Almeida
The 2004 EDP Foundation Art Grand Prize was attributed to Álvaro Lapa.
Álvaro Lapa is one of the most significant names in Portuguese art in the second half of the 20th century, establishing a strong artistic heritage among successive generations.
In Álvaro Lapa, the writer’s facet is confused with that of the visual artist. This association is crucial to understand the logic of his work, which is always founded on a profound knowledge of thought and romantic, symbolist, expressionist and surrealist literature, geared towards the task of deconstructing the codes of the disciplines he cultivates, of human behaviour in general and, in particular, his individual position in the world, the jury considered.
The 2004 EDP Grand Prize exhibition, entitled Álvaro Lapa: Obras-com-palavras e Paisagísticas (Works with words and landscapes), was held at Museu da Cidade, in Lisbon, occupying the spaces Pavilhão Branco (White Pavillion) and Pavilhão Preto (Black Pavilion), between 24 November 2006 and 28 January 2007. Curated by João Pinharanda and produced by the EDP Foundation in collaboration with Museu da Cidade, the exhibition presented more than a hundred paintings and drawings by the artist, culminating in the award being given to the painter and writer Álvaro Lapa.
Álvaro Lapa was born in Évora, in 1939. His first contact with painting was through his drawing lessons with António Charrua. In 1956, he moved to Lisbon, where he began by enrolling in Law School and, later, in Philosophy, a degree he only completed in 1975. In June 1961, he travelled abroad for the first time, to Paris, where he was in close contact with painters aligned with surrealism and North American art. Throughout his life, painting and writing always ran in parallel and were often combined. Art theory, poetry and short surrealist stories make up some of his literary work. Recognition for his work has been confirmed at retrospective exhibitions such as the ones in Serralves Foundation and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.