As for João Cutileiro, he understands the human body and draws out from it what is perhaps most moving: the harmony of its imperfection. All the eroticism of the women he sculpts resides in this apparent paradox. Today, a Venus created by Cutileiro might have a waist too fragile for the volume and weight of her breasts, frail arms, the shoulders of a young girl, and thighs, compact and disturbing as mercury. Before these figures of Cutileiro, the pleasure is truly an erotic one. But it is not the ambiguous and impotent pleasure of the voyeur. Here the observer leaves himself, transforms, dissimulating himself as agent and accomplice. Looking at these nudes, the well known and calming assertion that complete nudity is chaste loses all sense. These men and women are not undressed to be displayed in a Greek temple or a modern museum: they are naked for love. Which, of, course, is the best reason to be without clothes.
The opening is next Thursday, October 9, at Rua dos Navegantes, Lisbon (P4Photography). Cutileiro (b. 1937) is one of the most celebrated Portuguese artists. He made his way through the art circuit with its unique sculptures, but, as any great artist, he was also capable to leave his mark with other media. His photos are neither a complement nor a kind of illustration of his sculptures. They have their own private space; their character should allow them to reclaim a major role in Cutileiro’s body of work.
(These photos are raising some controversy in Portugal. Later on I will give my personal opinion on the subject.)
Carlos Miguel Fernandes