Idalécio is a Portuguese self-taught artist, born in 1952, in a small village in the interior of Aveiro district. Fatherless, he grew up in an uncle’s rural house, where he became a man and a metallurgist. It was there that, years later, he secretly began to paint and sculpt in a spontaneous and intuitive way, without artistic pretensions or interest in revealing the collection that he was accumulating throughout his life. His production was so prolific that all the rooms of the house were completely filled with his unusual creations. Whoever got in there, would find a series of seemingly chaotic surrealist galleries that were the result of an entropic process obsessively and meticulously controlled by the artist.
In April 2016, after several months of conversations, the exhibition “D’Idalécio… Todos Temos um Pouco” (From Idalécio… Everyone Has a Little Bit) opens at the Cruzes Canhoto Gallery in Porto, showing for the first time the paintings and sculptures by this outsider artist. Despite the huge success of the exhibition, Idalécio intended to remain anonymous and continued in the factory where he has always worked, creating only in his free time. It was not until September 2017, during his second show at Cruzes Canhoto, “Metalúrgico Sexagenário” (Sexagenarian Metallurgist), that he agreed to reveal himself to the public and the press.
If at the beginning of his creative activity some stylistic inconsistencies were evident, in the more recent production it is perceptible a greater cohesion of styles, forms and themes, the result of a successful evolutionary process towards a unique and personal style. This is what you can see in the new exhibition, “Santos, Diabos e Outras Bestas” (Saints, Devils and Other Beasts), where Idalécio, having nothing to prove, refuses any kind of exhibitionism, reducing the shapes and colors to the essential, often monochromatic. Jokingly, the artist calls it his Zen phase.
In sculptures, in most cases, he only uses an ax, a lumberjack saw, a hammer and spray paint as tools. In the paintings presented here, in black and white on wood, he simply uses a worker brush. It is this creative process that gives the work the same raw, primitive and minimal aspect that characterizes each of the figures represented there, whether they are saints, devils or other beasts.