Amilcar de Castro (Minas Gerais, 1920-2002). Sculptor, engraver, draughtsman, lay out designer, scenographer, lecturer. Moved with his family to Belo Horizonte in 1935, studying at the Law Faculty of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) between 1941 and 1945. From 1944 onwards, he attended the open course in drawing and painting with Guignard (1896 – 1962), at the School of Fine Arts of Belo Horizonte, studying figurative sculpture with Franz Weissmann (1911 – 2005). At the end of the 1940s, he took up a series of political appointments that he soon abandoned, together with his career as a lawyer. In parallel, his work made the transition from drawing to three-dimensionality. In 1952, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, working as a lay out designer for various publications, most notably redesigning the daily, Jornal do Brasil.
After coming into contact with the work of the Swiss artist, Max Bill (1908 – 1994), he made his first Constructivist sculpture, which was exhibited at the Bienal Internacional de São Paulo [São Paulo International Bienal], in 1953. He also took part in the exhibitions of the Constructivist group, in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, in 1956, signing the Neoconcrete Manifesto in 1959. In the following year, he took part in the International Exhibition of Concrete Art in Zurich, organized by Max Bill. In 1968, he went to the United States, with the aid of both a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation scholarship and the foreign travel prize that he had won at the 1967 National Salon of Modern Art. Upon returning to Brazil in 1971, he settled in Belo Horizonte, becoming a lecturer in composition and sculpture at the Escola Guignard, where he worked until 1977, also as its director.
In the 1970s and 80s, he lectured at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), retiring from teaching in 1990 to dedicate himself exclusively to his art. In 1999, he presented new works at the exhibition held at the Hélio Oiticica Art Centre, in Rio de Janeiro, in which he respected the limits of resistance of the flagstones of the historic building. Next to the building, in Tiradentes Square, he exhibited a set of monumental pieces. In his last sculptures, removed from Constructivist orthodoxy, his point of departure is no longer the regular geometric figures that characterized one period of his output. For many years without a base, his works extend horizontally over the ground, carrying on a dialogue with the landscape.
In a career of some five decades, Amilcar de Castro experimented with the infinite possibilities of the plane. Resisting an excessive rationalism, his folds make geometry malleable and more human.