Metalúrgico Sexagenário

Idalécio (b.1952) is a portuguese self-taught artist from a small village in Aveiro district.
He started creating spontaneously in the country house where he grew up as an orphan, having no artistic pretensions or interest in revealing the collection he has been accumulating throughout his entire life. It was only by chance that, by the end of 2015, we came in contact with the secret world of this sexagenarian metallurgist, since he never promoted himself. When we arrived, the surprise could not have been greater: waiting for us there were more than a thousand paintings and hundreds of sculptures, that only close relatives had the opportunity to see until then.

After the death of his uncle, with whom he had lived since the age of three, Idalécio, already an adult and working in the production department of a metallurgical factory, returns to the house where he spent his childhood and adolescence and transforms part of its rooms into surrealistic galleries, completely filled with his singular creations, and the rest of the house into a museum, preserving the memory of nearly a century of several living and dead cultures. All of this presented in a vast organized chaos as a result of an entropic process obsessively and meticulously controlled by the artist.

In the face of the immensity and richness of this fantastic universe, efforts had to be made in order to turn it accessible to the world of art lovers, and this was what we tried to do in the weeks that followed, promoting multiple encounters and conversations. At that time, however, we discovered the uncertain temper of this man, when, to our surprise, he offered resistance to show his art pieces. So, it was not before five months later that we could hear the long awaited: “ok, you can take them”, although shortly afterwards he has added a “but you have to pay them first!”.

In April 2016, the exhibition “D’Idalécio… Todos Temos Um Pouco” opened at last at the gallery Cruzes Canhoto, in Porto, and his outsider sculptures and paintings could be shown in public for the first time. That was the beginning of a new creative phase of the artist and also a new way of working in the gallery.
Still, despite having sold more than 300 art pieces during this operation, Idalécio intended to remain anonymous and continued in the factory where he has always worked, creating only in his spare time.

The duality that still characterizes his life, with two socially and culturally well-defined worlds – a bourgeois adult status and his rural and humble origins –, is resolved by the artistic expression and is clearly perceptible in the pieces he creates.
His paintings, although marked by exuberant and maximalist figurations, are defined by steady lines, and by irreprehensible color combinations, whatever the chosen palettes, in a harmonious and elegant construction. On the other hand, the sculptures, especially the most recent, are almost all monochromatic and built with rough pieces of wood, using almost exclusively an axe, which gives them a raw, primitive and minimal aspect.

Being a compulsive collector, he accumulates in huge boxes hundreds of useless objects of all kinds that he employs in his sculpture creations. The same recycling attitude is applied in painting, when at the end of each session he uses the rest of both oil and acrylic paints to experiment combinations of shapes or colors on the sheets of newspapers used to protect the workspace.

Pop and populist, surreal and tropicalist, Idalécio is strongly inspired by the Portuguese folk art, regularly attending popular and handicraft fairs that take place all over the country. There, he collects elements of the rural imaginary, in which the sacred and the profane walk together, to give harsh and sarcastic criticisms to the establishment, in particular those inherited from the Jewish-Christian culture. In an unusual way, he combines the language of the Portuguese master craftsmen with some of the expressions of African tribal art, of which he is also a collector, particularly of the socalled ‘power figures’. His presence in the interior of Mozambique in the late 1970s serving during the war could be at the basis of this artistic influence.

If at the beginning of his creative activity some stylistic inconsistencies are evident – biting here and there on everything that crossed his innocent natural curiosity –, in the more recent production is perceived a greater cohesion of styles, forms and themes, the result of a successful evolutionary process towards a unique and personal language.

Metalúrgico Sexagenário

23 September > 31 December 2017 + A Couple of Days
Galeria Cruzes Canhoto, Rua Miguel Bombarda, 452, Porto
Cruzes Canhoto
Tiago Coen / Cruzes Canhoto
Nuno Marques / Cruzes Canhoto

All works exhibited are available for online purchase.
If you are interested please contact us.




Simultaneously with this exhibition, Cruzes Canhoto releases the book “Idalécio – Metalúrgico Sexagenário”, in which the unique universe of this self-taught creator is presented in a deeper way.
48 pages profusely illustrated in color, with cover on canvas, with the dimension of 20x20cm.

Cruzes Canhoto
Editorial Coordination:
Tiago Coen / Cruzes Canhoto
Tiago Coen / Cruzes Canhoto
Photography and Image Editing:
Nuno Marques / Cruzes Canhoto
Graphic Design:
Pedro Soares / Cruzes Canhoto
Idalécio Carvalho

300 copies edition