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Henrique Liberal Cardoso: Painting, Film and Rock and Roll

Walter Raymond


The Argentine artist is a musician who composes his scores with strokes of color.


Through the process of amplification, the smallest initial disturbance can generate far-reaching effects anywhere else in the world. It is the famous “butterfly effect,“which states that the faint flutter of a butterfly can trigger a tornado on the other side of the world.

Henrique Liberal Cardoso
Henrique Liberal Cardos in his studio.

For Henrique Liberal Cardoso (Rio de Janeiro, 1947 – Buenos Aires) that faint flutter was the unexpected, and uncomfortable, pixelation of his TV screen during a sports broadcast. He remembers that—at the time—he “narrowed his eyes and could see the image perfectly on the screen, like an optical game.” Intrigued by the phenomenon, he studied and experimented for two years, achieving a combination and interaction of computer programs, photography, and painting, the art form he is more famous for.

The flapping of the butterfly’s wings reach Hollywood

The impact of his exhibition at the Palais de Glace in Buenos Aires was a milestone for the artist. He is still moved by the overwhelming response from the public and the sudden interest shown by hundreds of youngsters to the power of the pixel. The year was 1992, and the show was followed by several exhibitions in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Las Vegas, reaching its peak at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in Los Angeles, where he presented a series of works on film stars.

Henrique Liberal Cardoso
Portrait of Mick Jagger

While people admired his emblematic portraits of Hollywood actors, Liberal Cardoso remembers the moment when he first heard Elvis Presley singing Carl Perkins’ song Blue Suede Shoes. He immediately added rock music to his passions, creating the compelling trilogy that since then guides him: painting, film, and rock.

He smiles recalling that, in fourth grade, he used to sing rock for his school friends. Now, he paints Rock for the world. His creative process has been a constant search for experimentation. When he was only 20 years old, he had his first solo exhibition, Geometric Crosses. Later on, he joined the avant-garde and kinetic art movements.

Henrique Liberal Cardoso
The artist’s studio filled with his work and rock-and-roll memorabilia.

In the 1970s, he moved to Brazil where his creative process grew stronger. He married his longtime girlfriend, had two daughters, participated in various exhibitions and created acrylic objects under the name White Box. He later returned to Buenos Aires and reprised his experimentation and interplay between geometry, pop, and rock-and-roll icons.

After his successful exhibition at the Palais de Glace, the world started paying attention to his work. He is the author of 32 Years of Rock, perhaps the most complete and thorough review of the origins of rock.

It can be said that Henrique Liberal Cardoso is a musician who composes his scores with strokes of color.  ■


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