Javier Godoy

For Chilean painter Ricardo Bezerra (1941-2016), painting was “a true artistic language”. He felt that it was the artist’s responsibility to handle that language rather than him being controlled by it.

In his constant search for freedom within the constraints of the medium, Bezerra kept pushing painting’s boundaries while at the same time engaging in a sort of game.

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Indeed, playing was a big component of Bezerra’s life and he was obsessed with the magic atmosphere around a game of pool. He was drawn and inspired by the ambiance of bohemian nights, the concentrated silence around the pool table and the stories that accompanied it. Bezerra loved playing with language and words and besides being a painter, he was also a published poet. His mature style evolved from the tension between his fanciful, poetic impulse and love of night life avant-garde. An introvert, Bezerra shunned the company of other painters and devoted himself exclusively to looking and creating, working extensively on canvas, works on paper and mixed media.

Although little is known about him internationally, Bezerra was a highly prolific artist and he participated in many exhibitions in Chile. The censorship of the Pinochet years excluded many artists of this generation from the official History of Art from that period. It is now that academic research on the Chilean art production under the dictatorship between 1973 and 1989 can at last reinstate many great artists such as Ricardo Bezerra to the status they rightfully deserve.