Artist

Louco

Louco
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Supper
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Biography

Louco
[Boaventura da Silva Filho]
1932 / 1992, Cachoeira - BA

“Louco” or madman is Boaventura Silva Filho’s nickname, and He is certainly those artists Who, as Gilberto Velho says, built a biography based on the field of possibilities “very typical of modern society, appearing with strong solidarity with the development of individualist ideologies”.
And so it is that artists like him, Agnaldo, Artur Pereira, José Antônio da Silva, G.T.O., Chico Silva, Chico Tabibuia, Dezinho, Eli Heil and many others in this book , were building in their work an individual “style” similar to those between the creators belonging to the elites. Louco is certainly one of the top names of 20th Brazilian sculpture. Rosewood, jackfruit, sucupira, vinhatico, are some of the wood with which he worked for over thirty years, building a vehement gallery of supernatural characters, which range from the catholic iconology to African-Bahian , or mixed. The titles of his work make it evident of this double religious affiliation: Cabeça de Oxalá (Oxalá’s Head), Santa Ceia (Last Supper), Tocando atabaque (Playing drums), Iemanjá, Cristo (Christ), Oxalá Cristo (Oxalá Christ), Grande (Grand), Anjo de candomblé (Angel of candomblé). These cross-cultural carvings are very visible in the elongated Christ with black features and in the Last Supper supported, he says, by slaves that we imprint here. In Louco’s sculpture, the rhythm stands out as one of the most important constructive elements. Whether in the sucession of the serial figures always forming harmonious blocks, or in the actual cut with the gouge on the surface of the wood, which he sands scrubs, scales and gives undulating forms. His supernatural characters, gods, as he called them to Selden Rodman (1977), are dynamic figures of suffering and religious ecstasy. Like Agnaldo e Chico Tabibuia, Louco innovates when he portrays the orishas in his sculpture, since African tradition and that of the great candomblés of Salvador – which he visited for some time – are abstract and geometric, at their drawn points, or then distinguishes each saint by its clothes, accessories and attributes, without ever portraying it. Like his peers, he emerges from the collective to an individual stance, seeking an ever-deeper personal expression, like any elite artist would, building what is called “style”. The slanting and generally half-shut eyes, long narrow nose, and elongated arms and legs are elements that slide into the description of “Expressionism”, in the sense of drama and pain tirelessly reinvented in the form that he gives to his works. Selden Rodman (1977) explains about his nickname : “When I stopped shaving heads and being a barber to carve blocks of wood, my neighbors said: the ma’s mad. I thought an artistic name a great idea, and that was when I stop being Boaventura Silva Filho.” In fact, when he was still a barber, Louco would carve wooden and clay pipes when he was not cutting hair. He began by making heads an figures in them, but they became so big that he finally moved on to sculptures in blocks of jackfruit, sucupira, and rosewood. He took them to the Mercado Modelo in Salvador, in 1965, to be sold, where they were seen by Jorge Amado and Mário Cravo Jr. They bought them and that’s how his fame as an artist spread. Louco could now sell his work without leaving home, with his works disputed by collectors and art dealers. He was able to buold his lovely round white house in the midst of a coconut grove, with all doors and windows carved by him, where his workshop was where he lived with his wife and ten children. In 1972 he took part in the O espírito criador do povo brasileiro (The creative spirit of the Brazilian people) exhibition in Brasília, the former Abelardo Rodrigues’ collection, and in the exhibition in Domus Center, Milan. In 1974 he was included in the Sete Brasileiros e seu universo( Seven Brazilians and their universe) with curator Gisela Magalhães. In 1977 he helped represent Brazil in the 2nd Festac of Lagos, Nigeria, with curator Clarival do Prado Valladares, and in 1987 in the exhibition Brésil, Arts Populaires, in the Grand Palais, Paris, with curator Lélia Coelho Frota. His work is found in major private collections and is part of the collection of the top popular art museums in Brazil. He also created around himself a “school” as in common in the popular milieu when a master appears. He passed on his knowledge to his relativies: his son Celestino, his late Brother Maluco, and nephews Maluco Filho, Doidão and Bolão (who signs Louco Filho), and who are also artists.

Little Dictionary of the Brazilian People’s Art – 20th Century, by anthropologist and poet Lélia Coelho Frota




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