Batuz - Best signature

Many years ago, so many that I have lost count, I met Batuz in Uruguay and throughout the world. Batuz is more than anything else, a force of nature in motion. He has built up and stirred up so many things over the years. As he continues to do so, at this point in the saga, he has arrived at something really extraordinary that is to do now in life with what initially he had painted, making a work of art out of his life. This is not simply a manner of speaking but something that is in his very art, and those who know him ought to know that this Batuz, pot stirrer, promoter, animator, who at times orders us around, was in the beginning a great artist. It was in the beginning that the great abstract forms appeared, large fields in tension with each other. It was in those great paintings where the idea first appeared of the two huge fields and a sort of border area, a tension in between where these fields were in opposition or were joined, depending on how you would look at them. And it turns out that today his painting is his motivation in life. That is to say, in uniting those fields that at times were opposed and distant, but which in a certain sense now meet each other at a border, instead of being a wall has become a bridge.

This same person stopped painting and began a type of activist life, for civilization, for art, for peace, for the construction of bridges. And here starts another world, the world of the Société Imaginaire. What is it? It is a society that was born from his impulse to establish connections.

What is his painting, is also transcended to his activities. There he imagines a world without borders. Further than transcending political borders, he is creating a dialogue between people and there he is creating miracles.

And this is the basic concept whereby art becomes social, cultural, and political action in the broadest sense of what constitutes the political exercise. One often senses that dreamers are not doers. They have a genial idea, and there it remains. However, with Batuz it is a different story, and one is impressed with what he has been doing through the most diverse kinds of actions and in very diverse directions.

First he tried direct communication. Everyone now travels in a globalized world; we are filled to the brim with information, overwhelmed by data. We end up not even knowing our own selves or each other. In this context, just to name a few examples, Batuz began to bring people together from the two sides of Germany and from countries in Eastern Europe. He established something very curious and also very interesting about the constructivist currents in Latin American and European art, that had been born in a parallel and enigmatic way. He confirmed that parallel; and he generated a mass of critical thinking with the likes of Arthur Miller, Mark Strand, Octavio Paz, Alvaro Mutis, and so many more. Later others of us joined in with our enthusiasm and passion, and an interrelation began, a current which the Société Imaginaire projected forward. And with that critical mass he began to do amazing things. Creating a museum in Altzella, for example, dedicated to Raúl Lozza with his fantastic geometric purity is no small thing. And from my country hundreds of artists have been working there, in a monastery where I witnessed the rebirth of a place where people from Europe and from all horizons and all walks of life would come to work and to create, from the intellectual elite to simple, common people.

His agreement with the state enterprise UTE (as with other similar large organizations around the world) for the promotion of creative work of their common employees which has stimulated and generated great enthusiasm and creative expression. People were brought together, friendships were formed, and workers were pulled from the routine of their jobs and were able to step out of that gray dullness into a great enterprise and a formidable experience. And true artists came forth. Later, other projects would open doors, the exhibition of Uruguayan Jews, for example. All this would mean that doors and windows would open in cultural centers where our artists could never have thought of going through simply by their own efforts.

These projects that were being done with a humanistic idea of communication among human beings, began to take on real substance, and did not just remain in a simple poetic enunciation. I was so impressed by initiatives like those in Germany and Poland (no más fronteras) because they have moved people to create works of art and to behave around their art in unimaginable ways. Who would have thought of a Colonel from the German Army conceiving a work of art in the middle of a town square, even less with Poles and less still with Poles and Germans working together?

With such tremendous stories of human creation overcoming borders, I would like to add that Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo were both scientific artists and were also pioneers. That is to say, that you can’t explain art without science nor science without art. The world of the surrealists is a child of Freud; it is the child of a psychiatrist. We can’t imagine a painting of Miró or Dalí without Freud.

There is no art without science nor science without art.

An artist is a constant researcher, and that’s how history has been and will continue to be. The good thing is that with Batuz’s convocation we can make of it an instrument of research, of understanding among peoples, a factor of peace as we have seen, a factor of human promotion that at times has rescued and exalted the hidden possibilities within its being, thus reaching higher dimensions of the spirit.

All this energy has permitted Batuz to generate a movement that is based in his person but transcends towards institutions all over the world. Batuz, and I have told him more than once, has created great works of art, has brought forth great initiations like the Société Imaginaire, like his project no más fronteras, but above all his greatest work is his life itself. This Nietzschian creative impulse, this volcanic passion to carry strong ideas with vibration and intelligence and enthusiasm, with a spiritual superiority unparallel in the world of today. To see in this vulgar and consumist world of today someone who renounces all comforts of richness, the generous market of art, to fight for ideas that have a utopian sense is remarkable. As Max Weber wisely means that to attain something real you have to propose ten times the impossible. And this is what Batuz has accomplished in his life. His life is a great construction, a great making, a great creation, a formidable thought, and above all an extraordinary inspiration. Because all that his creations have been, have been to inspire others. I am a witness to this success. After so many years, involving me in so many of his activities, he succeeded for so long solely because he managed to inspire me towards his own faith.

Julio María Sanguinetti former President of the Republic of Uruguay (1985-1990, 1995-2000) Member of the International Advisory Board, Batuz Foundation USA

Excerpts from a speech on the occasion of the Schering Prizes of the Société Imaginaire for “doctor-artists”, Centro Borges, Buenos Aires, November 27, 2002

About the Author

Yemeni activist, politician member of the initiative for new Yemen in Berlin,