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GTO: wood as a craft

Work by GTO

Minas Gerais sculptor and carver Geraldo Teles de Oliveira, known as GTO, started working with wood only at the age of 52. Coming from a poor family, GTO had several other trades before dedicating himself to art. Unanimously among critics, he established himself as one of the greatest names in Brazilian popular art.

During the period when he was a night watchman, the artist had visions in which the sculptures he was supposed to make are shown to them. Using the chisel and the knife, he cuts large blocks of wood with precision, repeatedly representing human figures on geometric bases. The rhythm of repetitions, full and empty, creates impressive pieces!

His first individual exhibition was in 1967, at Guignard Gallery, in Belo Horizonte. From then on, he participated in important group shows in Brazil and abroad, such as Biennale Formes Humaines, Musée Rodin, Paris, in 1974; 13th São Paulo International Biennial - Special Room, in 1975; and Venice Biennale, Italy, in 1980. GTO's son, Mário Teles, and his grandsons, Geraldo Fernandes and Alex Teles, today follow the legacy of the master carver.

Text: Tania Collier