León Ferrari is one of the most renowned Latin American artists worldwide, acclaimed at the 2007 Venice Biennale, for which he received the Golden Lion Award in recognition of his artistic oeuvre that, until the end of his life, motivated him to challenge the world we live in.Read More
In his artistic practice, he makes use of different languages, such as sculpture, drawing, writing, collage, assemblage, installation and video. This heterogeneous set of practices integrates themes that reveal both his researcher and activist character as the aesthetic investigation of language, the questioning of the Western world, power and normatisation that dictates the values of Religion, Art, Justice and the State, the reverence for women and eroticism, and the depiction of violence. The repetition, the irony, and the literality are also resources of his poetics, recognised since his early works.
In the 1960s, the drawings and sculptures of Ferrari are permeated, in particular, by the ethical questioning of religion and the denunciation against Imperialism. In 1976, a military coup forced the artist and his family to leave Buenos Aires, moving to São Paulo, where they remained until the 1990s. During his stay in Brazil, Ferrari joined the local experimental circuit, involving with the process of language revitalisation through the production of heliographies, photocopies, musical instruments, concerts and mail art. Upon returning to Argentina, the artist continued to produce politically engaged artworks, questioning the disappearances that occurred during the Military Dictatorship.
León Ferrari was born in 1920 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lived until his death in 2013. His works were exhibited at major international exhibitions, such as: The Words of Others: León Ferrari and Rhetoric in Times of War, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami, USA, 2018, and Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), Los Angeles, USA, 2017–2018; La donación Ferrari, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2014; León Ferrari - Brailles y Relecturas de la Biblia, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2012; Tangled Alphabets: León Ferrari and Mira Schendel, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA, 2009; León Ferrari: Poéticas e Políticas, Pinacoteca do Estado do São Paulo, Brazil, 2006; León Ferrari: retrospectiva. Obras 1954–2004, Centro Cultural Recoleta (CCR), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004; and Politiscripts, The Drawing Center (TDC), New York, USA, 2004. He participated in Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense at the 52nd Venice Biennale (Italian Pavilion and Arsenal), in 2007, receiving the Golden Lion Award. His works are present in important institutional collections, such as: Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami, USA; Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), Chicago, USA; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, La Habana, Cuba; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland; Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina; Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM-RJ), Brazil; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP), Brazil; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil; The Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH), Houston, USA; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA; Tate Modern, London, UK; among others.
Text courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler.
Mr. Ferrari began his artistic career as a ceramicist, then became an abstract artist. As his political and moral beliefs strengthened, he said, he grew passionate about using his talent to challenge what he considered illegitimate authority. Perhaps his most famous piece, Western Civilization and Christianity, depicted a nearly life-size Christ...
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