13/09/2013 | Sculptures by Antonio de Dedé at the Estação Art Gallery

“At my job, I was striking gold”

Under the curatorship of Roberta Saraiva, the Estação Art Gallery shows 38 sculptures in the individual exhibition by artist Antônio de Dedé (Lagoa da Canoa, Alagoas, 1957) who, in 2012, took part in a group exhibition known as “Histoires de Voir”, organised by the Cartier Foundation, in Paris, and also in the Stubbornness of the Imagination (Teimosia da Imaginação) project, including a book, a documentary and an exhibition in the Tomie Ohtake Institute. A self-learner, Antonio de Dedé learnt his trade watching his father work with wood in his carpentry business, and says that he has a “transparent relationship” with his creation. In his opinion, his skill is an acquired skill that arose from his wish to recreate his father’s work. The result of this inherited talent can be seen in this set of unprecedented pieces, which are part of his reality, such as animals, saints and human figures, with a range of colours and sizes, from 50 centimetres up to 2 metres tall.
Antônio de Dedé started carving when he was 8 years old, creating toys such as cars, aeroplanes and tops, which he would then sell in the neighbourhood. In his teenage years, his work developed when he started to work in a pottery company, where he made use of the clay to “burn the small dolls together with the tiles”, and thus a new range of products came about, including ducks, human effigies and modelled horses, burnt and painted. “In my work, I was discovering gold”, the artist said. As time went by, the pottery unit gradually closed down, and Antônio de Dedé started to use wood as the main raw material for his sculptures.
Always with a lot of colour, it is possible to find small pieces with limbs of natural proportions, but the work of this artist is characterised by sculptures that are normally vertical, with long extremities, in which the stretched body with small legs and endless arms with the hands held inwards generate a particular contrast. For Roberta Saraiva, “the pieces gained substance and size, and were established in a verticality of curious proportions, with richness of expression. and colour, which are reminiscent of the figures that would be placed atop the bow of the ships on the São Francisco River”. With teeth, bulging eyes, a moustache, eyebrows and painted nails, each and every detail of the personalities sculpted by Antônio de Dedé is extremely well marked.
The expression in the carving, and the drama in each piece, are significant characteristics of the work by Antônio de Dedé. Work that, according to the curator, “fits perfectly within the concept of popular art, especially if this feature is associated with the meaning attached to the rural origin of the artist and also his magnitude within the art market – but is also associated with other labels, if we consider the complexity of an own cosmogony at the forefront”.

Antônio de Dedé (Lagoa da Canoa, AL, 1957)
Antônio Alves dos Santos, son of Dedé Lourenço, lives with his five children in Lagoa da Canoa, a small town 150 km from Maceió, the capital of Alagoas. He started carving his own toys at the age of 8, and discovered clay when he went to work in a pottery unit. Like many popular artists, he migrated to wood because clay was scarce. His first works were still small affairs, reminding us of toys, such as the Horse with leather ears and the Parrot with pink wings. Then came the figures of the bull and the tiger, long and with reduced limbs, announcing the “stretched” proportion of future work of the artist.

General Information:

Antônio de Dedé - Sculptures
From 13 September to 31 October 2013
Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admittance Free.

Estação Art Gallery

Rua Ferreira de Araújo, 625 – Pinheiros SP
Telephone 0xx11 3813-7253

Please check out the talk about the exhibition, that took place at the Gallery:

Galeria Estação