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Eduardo Arroyo

Eduardo Arroyo

*  1937 Madrid

Born in Madrid in 1937, Eduardo Arroyo is today regarded as a leading exponent of politically committed realism. After training in journalism, Arroyo emigrated to Paris at twenty-one to work there as a writer and journalist. Not much convinced of his writing talent and his political judgement, Arroyo decided to devote himself to painting. Teaching himself, he began to 'tell in pictures'. In doing so, he occupied a special niche in 1950s Paris, where abstract painting rather than representational and narrative art was the prevailing mode. Arroyo's representational and figurative compositions are full of easily intelligible allusions to historic events and people in public life. Arroyo devised stererotyped figures which embody characters of particular social strata or deployed famous but defamiliarised pictorial quotes, often with an ironical after-taste. Arroyo had his first show at the Claude Levain Gallery in Place Vendōme but the public was still far from being enamoured of his tongue-in-cheek provocation. However, Arroyo's works came increasingly to be regarded as scandalous and were even censored. Moreover, Arroyo dared to caricature established artists such as Miró and Duchamp, which aroused additional animosity and earned him biting criticism. After Franco's death in 1976, Arroyo returned to Spain, where he was officially honoured by his native country with a large-scale retrospective. In 1983 Arroyo was awarded the Grand National Prize for Painting in Spain. Since 1969 Arroyo had also occasionally worked as a stage designer for important European theatrical productions: he designed a production of A. Adamov's 'Off Limits' for the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, a production of the Alban Berg opera 'Wozzeck' for the Bremen Opera and the stage scenery for Berthold Brecht 'Im Dickicht der Städte' ['Urban Jungle'] for Frankfurt a. M. In 1986 Arroyo's own piece, 'Bantam', was premičred at the Munich Residenztheater. A fruit of Arroyo's frequent collaboration with Klaus Michael Grüber since 1969 was Arroyo's stage scenery for a 1996 Amsterdam production of Verdi's 'Othello'. Arroyo's work has been shown at numerous international exhibitions and Biennales.