The Girls of João Cutileiro

As Meninas de João Cutileiro

“Now, João Cutileiro knows, of the human body, what is perhaps most touching in it: the harmonious imperfection. All the eroticism of the women he sculpts resides there, in this apparent paradox. Today, a Venus that came out of Cutileiro's hands would have a fragile waist for the volume and weight of her breasts, slender arms, the shoulders of an almost girlish girl, and thighs as dense and restless as mercury. In front of Cutileiro's figures, the pleasure of looking is, in fact, an erotic pleasure. However, do not enjoy the ambiguous and imposing enjoyment of the “voyeur”: here, the observer has ceased to be, he has become an agent and is an accomplice and a concealer of himself. Looking at these nudes, the familiar and soothing assertion that total nudity is chaste becomes meaningless. These women and men do not undress to be shown in a Greek temple or a modern museum: they are naked for love. Which is, let us confess, the best reason there can be for us to undress.” - José Saramago


João Cutileiro and the marble

The artist João Cutileiro profoundly marked sculpture and the very identity of Portuguese art history, by reinventing the means of production. He began his studies at the Superior School of Fine Arts and later at the Slade School with Reginald Butler. In the 1960s, he began to exhibit and work with different themes and materials, always bearing in mind his political ideologies and the defense of freedom of artistic expression. In 1966, the artist introduced electric stone cutting machines to his production, which allowed him to dedicate himself exclusively to marble. Through the use of this element, João Cutileiro surpassed academic statuary and built a new language. The use of stone influenced a new generation and broke not only the barriers of art, but also the taboos of a society, deeply Catholic and influenced by the beliefs of the Estado Novo. Throughout his career, he was recognized through public and private commissions, in which the artist recreated historical, allegorical and religious characters or moments (Monument on the 25th of April in Lisbon, D. Sebastião in Lagos, Homage to the Fisherman in Póvoa do Varzim ). In addition to these themes, the sculptor explored others such as warriors, flowers, trees and birds, bifid figures and female figures (torsos and girls). In this article, we will address one of the themes that the artist has remained faithful to, girls, in order to understand how the artist awakened the beauty of the female body by expressing instinctual pleasures.

João Cutileiro | P55 Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

João Cutileiro

The girls

The sensuality of the female body was a constant in his work, thus producing a tribute to women as a source of life and love. The sculptures of the torsos brought the artist closer to the classic works, by linking the contours of the female body elements, in order to awaken their beauty. The girls, a name imposed by João Cutileiro himself, marked a large part of his production. Predominantly these sculptures are formed by a marble body (white, cream, pink, brown or gray grey), colored eyes made of polished marble and hair also in the same crudely worked material. Some of the figures are simple, while others are surrounded by natural shapes or scenic spaces, thus expressing instinctual pleasures. Finally, we have the mannequins, made of separable and easy-to-carry parts that form a body or fragments of it.

João Cutileiro | P55 Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

Lake of Tágides of João Cutileiro

Among the various sets of sculptures of female figures, João Cutileiro sculpted O Lago das Tágides at Parque das Nações in Lisbon. These evoke the tagis, mythical figures that would have lived on the Tagus River, according to Luís de Camões's Os Lusíadas. These are represented in their favorite space, because according to mythology, nymphs are beings that live in the waters of rivers and seas. Stretched out to rest and bathe in a carefree way, these mythical figures arouse a sensuality that questions the relationship between body and water. João Cutileiro creates the tags, as if they were mannequins, with various fragments that are assembled and build a body. We can observe, through this set, that the maneuverability and polishing of stone, namely marble, reveal the sensitivity of the material and its plasticity.

João Cutileiro | P55 Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

Matthew's house

Another example of the exaltation of sensuality, the mystic and the naive is the sculpture of the girl from Casa de Mateus. Its dimensions make it real and create a close interaction with the viewer. The girl immortalized in this space, demonstrates her pain and anguish, through the lightness and balance of her limbs. The polished marble conveys the simplicity and naturalness of its position that contrasts with the environment that surrounds it.

In addition to sculpture, João Cutileiro drew intensely, also creating girls in this format with all his sensitivity, delicacy and sensuality. Human proportions are forgotten in these drawings, with the physiognomy of the glutes and breasts being celebrated with increased proportions and tapered waist. Whether in sculpture or drawing, João Cutileiro constantly portrayed the beauty of the female body with a human intensity for freedom.

João Cutileiro | P55 Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

João Cutileiro


Older post Newer post