Mateas Pares (b. 1973) studied graphic design and commercial arts at Beckmans College of Design and Bergh’s School of Communication in the late 1990s and moved abroad shortly thereafter. Although been awarded Cannes Grand Prix and other notable awards for his work, he found himself drifting aimlessly as an advertising creative and graphic designer between London, Amsterdam, Paris, Hong Kong, and Stockholm, which he has described as a “sisyphean attempt to try to find creative meaning and happiness in a business I was never really comfortable with, but ended up in because of my laziness, cowardness, and greed”. He took up art in 2004 and exhibited at Liljevalchs the same year with a series of conceptual works, but stopped shortly after because it didn’t feel right. In 2012 Pares committed full time as an artist. Pares currently lives and works in Stockholm.
Despite the eyes being drawn to the sculptures, the canvas is very much at the centre of Mateas Pares’s work. By juxtaposing different materials and objects with the canvas, and in that way turn the canvas into a surface for exploring abstract, formalistic, and existential concepts that can only exist in thought, Pares has created his own relationship with the canvas as a sculptor rather than as a painter. Thematically, Pares often comes back to confronting issues around the struggle of living: How do we use the knowledge of what makes us human to overcome the challenges in our personal and collective narrative. The result creates a sense of the sculptures and the canvases being forced together in an eternal battle, trying to wrestle and win over each other, oscillating between both abstraction and the figurative.