Also known as ‘art brut‘ or raw art, Outsider Art includes all those images created by people who are uneducated in the conventions of fine art. Graffiti is a good example, as are primitive and naïve paintings. Increasingly recognised as an insightful form of expression, there are major exhibitions in art museums and galleries. Giving voice to ordinary people, children, prisoners and the mentally unstable, this type of artwork has no boundaries. The individuals involved are self-taught; they don’t belong to any art movement or school and, for the most part, are personally motivated.
Like Idalécio, they are not associated with the mainstream art world but are identified as a vibrant and creative force. Only recently, in 2016 when it was exhibited in Porto, Idalécio’s animated work received much acclaim. Futuristic and inventive he seems to have tapped into the mains electricity of his imagination. Ignoring the prevailing attitudes towards beauty, good taste and high culture, instead he produces unpredictable paintings and sculptures that are instinctive and full of fun.
Living in an extraordinary world, he is surrounded by diverse collections of personal memorabilia, ceramics, woodwork, basketwork, metalwork and popular art. Packed into every nook and cranny of his home and studio this assortment of objects is a source of stimulation.
“Maybe my collection is worth nothing,” he says. “Maybe I should get rid of it all. I do not do things that are logical. I might be an eccentric inventing strange ideas and random figures that do not exist. They’re different – nonsense, inspired by Portuguese artisans, Greek and Roman mythology and African art.”
Once a soldier in Mozambique, Idalécio has led a varied and interesting life. Brought up in a village near Aveiro, he encountered people who left a lasting impression. A blacksmith dedicated to the church; a tailor who yearned to be on stage; a shoemaker who made art. The stereotypical and conventional left him cold.
Whilst growing up he learned a set of skills so that he could work with metal. At first, he organised his time making tools and toys, gradually diversifying into free expression. Today he works full-time as an artisan-cum-artist. Enjoying every hour of every day, he is unconcerned if what he is producing is saleable or not. Spontaneous and carefree, Idalécio is a genuine source of Outsider Art. See his work now at Galeria Corte Real in Paderne.
Words: Carolyn Kain