Arthur Luiz Piza (1928-2017)

Arthur Luiz Piza, Brazilian (1928 - 2017) Piza was born in Sao Paulo, where he received his first training. He moved to Paris in 1955 and worked in the studio of the master of colour etching, Johnny Friedlaender. Piza soon became expert in all the techniques of etching and aquatint, using sugar-lift extensively, but he experimented in various ways to make his work more sculptural and three dimensional. He abandoned traditional etching techniques and, using very thick copper plates, he devised his unique "gouge" technique by incising his designs into his plates with hammers and various shaped chisels. The precision required is exact as his grooves need to be precisely deep and wide enough to hold his hand-made special inks. Because of the depths of the grooves, the direction of the wiping directly affects the final impression . Each impression of his prints requires at least 30 minutes between colours in order for the plate to be re-inked and wiped, and he has to use cold plates in order for the inks not to dry out. The process of producing each impression is a time consuming and laborious process of collaboration between Piza and his printers. His work has met with great success and is shown in major public collections world-wide, including MOMA in New York, the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Musée d’Art Nationale (Centre Pompidou) in Paris. He has been awarded numerous prizes, notably for etching, at the 1959 Sao Paolo Biennale and at Documenta Kassel in 1959. From 1958, Piza devoted himself primarily to burin engraving. Starting from this period, the artist created reliefs and collages, as well as sculpted objects, porcelain and jewellery. During the 1960’s, Arthur Luiz Piza became known as one of the most compelling representatives of the art of engraving. His style is very personal: the plate is cut, gashed, gouged, hammered, sculpted in small, successive marks that, like scales, interlock and overlap; hollows become volumes. The artist works with the perception of matter, matter that is imaginary and poeticised. The colours used by the artist are often ochres, muted and subdued. Arthur Luiz Piza lives and works in Paris.

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