“In what sort of world do we actually live?” This question is by no means new but remains highly charged, the answers to which are correspondingly varied. In Voltaire’s Candide, Leibniz’s postulate of “the best of all possible worlds” was satirised as an all too naïve confidence in God and the order of the world. For it is the disparity between our everyday world, with all its mad impossibilities – political and human, great and small – and the prospect of one that could be the best of all possible worlds, that led Voltaire, and perhaps also some others, to cynicism. Without any bitterness, however, and with dreamlike ease, come the paintings of Eduard Bigas, which from 23rd March until 6th May can be seen in Galerie Kuchling under the title “The best of all possible worlds”.
The moment one steps into the generous exhibition rooms in the Karl-Marx-Allee, one leaves before the door the world of harsh contrasts and enters a cosmos of surreal landscapes and beings, in which Bigas, with an inimitable grasp of colour and form, balances with brush and palette on the enthralling line between objective and abstract imagery. Particularly impressive is his three-tier composition, Sequences, a series of 24 individually painted squares, which the artist arranged specially for this exhibition. Monochrome surfaces, together with abstract, surreal motifs, some of which are surrounded by a black circular aperture, form a harmonious whole, which with longer contemplation has an almost meditative effect. For more than two years the Catalan-born artist has worked on the pieces, which are now exhibited for the first time, and through which he developed his stylistic idiom. The large pencil and chalk drawings of his triptych Continuous Present, in which pictorial and graphic elements are superimposed in an attractive fashion, display a stronger abstraction in comparison to his earlier graphic works. This is accompanied by a liberation of the line and a greater concentration of colour structures and colour moods, which increases further within the medium of painting. Colours and forms drift weightlessly over the canvas in Bigas’s paintings, reminding one of a bird, a volcano, human body shapes, or a landscape lying in mist.
But those who observe rainbows and watercolours and consider Bigas to be an unpolitical dreamer underestimate the Catalan. Bigas, who considers himself a European and is concerned about the current political developments that affect freedom within Europe, deliberately dissociates himself from the everyday world in his current work. By doing so he preserves his unique inner world, with all its hopes, desires and fantasies, to explore and extend its boundaries, and share it with us in his paintings. For somewhere between surface and line, between canvas and colour-stroke, between reason and feeling, Bigas finds himself the best of all possible worlds and it would be wrong not to follow him – at least for a while. And who then still asks, “In what sort of world do we actually live?” To which may be answered, without any cynicism: in a world of colours, sounds, light, rhythm, fantasy and diversity of forms – one must only be brave enough to give it space to unfold. Then it is perhaps one of the best.