Amilcar de Castro (1920 - 2002)

Untitled (1980)

height: 250cm
width: 250cm

Donated by Amilcar de Castro 1996


One of the great Brazilian sculptors of the 20th Century, Amilcar de Castro is an artist who produced misleadingly simple work. His simple forms are in fact the product of a virtuosity that juxtaposes constructivist rigor with a sense of vulnerability. The 'sensitive geometry' of the artist is counterbalanced with the aggression of the act of cutting and folding. Although this action is immediately obvious from the appearance of the work, the object remains mysterious; a feeling of wonder is evoked by the sheer conviction that such action requires.

De Castro intended to emphasise the ambition and improbability of the act of creating forms out of two-dimensional metal plates, and an important characteristic of the development of his oeuvre has been the change in thickness of the plate, increasing as technological means have allowed. Castro's Untitled (1980) is a testament to this fact. The thickness of the sheet is determined by the maximum permitted in order to produce the desired bend without the material shearing.

Castro's interest in the behaviour of material extends to how it relates to the environment. He sees corrosion and other naturally caused stains as an enriching of the aesthetic qualities of the work. In fact, his former teacher Franz Weissmann argued that rust in Castro's work was equivalent to paint in his own work. Concerns such as how the work relates to its environment, how its perception is affected by the movement of the spectator are associated with the neoconcrete movement of which Castro was a founding member.

Michael Asbury, 2008

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