Michael Biberstein

Michael Biberstein was born on November 7, 1948, in Solothurn, Switzerland.


During his years of Art History training at the Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania - USA), Biberstein spent an important semester with the British writer and art critic David Sylvester, who encouraged him to devote himself to the practice of painting in order to delve deeper into the important issues that animated him. The encounter with the work of Mark Rothko, which particularly marked him, was also decisive for the artist.


Michael Biberstein's artistic career began in the 1970s with a process of deconstruction of the painting, inscribed within the premises of conceptual art. This exploration led him to develop, from the 1980s onwards, first in Switzerland and then in Portugal, a work around landscape as a historical, methodological and aesthetic dimension. Arriving in our country at the end of the 1970s, it was here that the artist created, first in Penedo, in Sintra, then in Alentejo (where he lived most of the nearly 40 years he spent in Portugal), the ideal atmosphere to his practice of painting.


Interested in landscape painting in the Pre-Romantic and Romantic periods - and in the work of painters such as Claude-Joseph Vernet and Caspar Wolf - Biberstein is deeply reflective on the pictorial space of landscape and how it is affected by the concept of the sublime and the inherent idea of expressing the inexpressible. His painting evokes in the viewer a complex feeling linked to a face-to-face encounter with the immeasurable and the possibility of suspending the active mind. In this respect, and concerning the possible links with oriental art, the artist makes reference:


 "(...) what interests me most in oriental painting is stillness. Oriental painting distances not only the painter, but also the viewer in a completely different way from European painting. That's all, then. It is a philosophical understanding of painting. "


Biberstein's painting encourages us to slow down, a real change in the temporal regime of vision. Constructed from the patient juxtaposition of thin layers of acrylic paint, his works invite us to enter the "expanded field" of landscape, amidst melody, meditation and astrophysics (to which many of his work titles refer).


 Michael Biberstein was inspired by a special project at the time of his death: the painting of the unfinished ceiling of the Santa Isabel church in Lisbon. This project was carried out posthumously and today can be admired thanks to the generous support of private and institutional patrons.