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European art from centuries XII to XIX
Argentinian art from XIX century
International art from the XX century
Argentinian art from the XX century
From March 25, 2021 to Sept. 5, 2021
Room 33 / First Floor
120 works on display
Curator: Carolina Jozami
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Over the course of his life, León Ferrari (1920-2013) produced a vast quantity of works in diverse formats and languages. The pieces brought together for this exhibition show the different printmaking techniques he began to explore in 1976, while exiled in Brazil, where he forged ties with artists and experimental art spaces. He was self-taught in practically all disciplines, and it was with exceptional fervor that he delved into studies of printmaking and all the possibilities that the era’s novel technologies for reproduction and working in series had to offer.
Ferrari took on universal themes such as western Christian civilization, politics and human rights, and also made works based on formal abstraction, line and drawing. In his Proyectos [Projects] and Planos [Floor Plans] series, Letraset drawings and heliographs, he explored the physical support of our urban existence in plans for crazed architecture and cities inhabited by diminutive figures. He worked with the strategy, logic and thinking of chessboards and chess pieces and of labyrinths. In his written pieces, which were legible at times and illegible at others, and the letters, alphabets and codes he invented, he explored communication structures and that which constitutes us as human beings: language. In order to untangle and denounce the horrors committed by humanity in the name of God, he studied the holy scriptures and the religious iconography in the artistic masterpieces pertaining to Christianity and the history of western art. Accordingly, the human being is the measure of all things in León’s works.
In his zeal to make art more democratic, he did not hesitate when it came to numbering editions of his prints, pieces that are multiples by nature, using infinity as the denominator, as is the case for the Xerox or photocopy prints on exhibit here. In addition to taking distance from the mercantile logic applied to works of art, this gesture reflects the unbending will and corresponding actions of an artist committed to his time, and on a deeper level, to communicating and infinitely transmitting the idea of a world that is more just.
This exhibition brings together a selection of the graphic works by León Ferrari donated by the Fundación Augusto y León Ferrari Arte y Acervo [The Augusto and León Ferrari Art and Archive Foundation, FALFAA] to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
During his exile in Brazil in the mid 1970s, Ferrari began to experiment with industrial reproduction techniques, such as photocopies, heliographs and Xerox copies, all considered to be beyond the sphere of art practice at that time. In San Pablo, he developed a series of works using new media and in doing so, proposed a renovation in the languages of art and the very concept of an artwork; he was seeking to reach new audiences and previously excluded sectors of the public in an attempt to break away from traditional art world circuits.
His experimentation focused on finding alternative and efficient means of producing and reproducing works, interested in techniques’ potential to permit greater democratization and broader access to culture, as opposed to the idea propitiated by the orthodoxy of the market of a unique, unrepeatable work of art.
Ferrari pushes the limits of representation to an extreme and subverts them by utilizing a diverse range of plastic resources and methodologies: written paintings, illegible writing, graphic symbols, geometric compositions or those containing dissimilar images and abstract drawings and works where he tries out different strokes and textures.
The group of works assembled for Ferrari infinito [The Infinite Ferrari] offers an account of the investigations, experiences and explorations this multi-faceted creator would continue to pursue throughout more than half a century of uninterrupted work.
The arrival of these works to join the Museum’s collection fulfills the artist’s intention to have his graphic work form part of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes’ patrimony, a project he began in 2004 by donating a series of twenty-seven heliographs. In this sense, the exhibition contributes to the idea of multiplying and disseminating his legacy in addition to honoring an artist who is essential as a lucid observer of our times.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes