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Exhibition Catalogue | Zé do Chalé | sculptor of the void | 15/04/2013

Zé do Chalé, Hey! I started to write this text very much upset! I never met Zé do Chalé. He passed away in 2007, at the age of 105, and I never met him. I was already a regular visitor to the Northeast, but always those crazy trips. I would get to Recife at night, there establishing my headquarters, and the next day I would pick up a car and drive somewhere, then somewhere else, somewhere else and somewhere else, sleeping in roadside hotels in tiny towns. When I reached a capital city like Maceió, I stayed another day and my destination was soon the airport. I have seen many things and met many people, but never met Zé do Chalé! This genius was one I missed. This was a serious fault! I had heard about him. He lived in Aracaju, Sergipe, not too hard to get to… I don’t remember if the first time I saw his work was with Maria Amélia and Dalton, or with Celso Brandão. In any case, both have an enviable collection and got to meet him (I am envious of both things… white envy, of course!) I well remember the discussions that his work caused. Indeed! He started to sculpt the Trophies, as he called them, at the age of 89. There were real fights. Once I bought one through a friend, who sent it to São Paulo through someone, and the work ended up in the hands of a third person. I never forgave her! It was very difficult for me to accept the idea of losing the sculpture. This is how things were. We all saw the exceptional quality of that work, and the small production generated these disputes. It was not easy to decide how to make a commercial exhibition. I feel like keeping all the works for myself, but in so doing the name and the works of this great sculptor would remain in the dark, something which I don’t think is fair on him nor on art lovers. The partnership with the Karandash gallery was essential. They have a sizeable collection, showed interest in showing their works and making them available, in a sign of pure generosity! Cauê Alves’ admiration for the works of Zé do Chalé was immediate, and with the invitation for him to be the curator we continued our permanent movement towards the acceptance of the fact that art knows no bounds.

Vilma Eid

Galeria Estação