León Ferrari

To Write

October 13 - December 19, 2015

Press Release

Sicardi Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of León Ferrari: To Write, with a reception on Tuesday, October 13, from 6 to 8 pm. Curated in collaboration with the Fundación Augusto y León Ferrari, the exhibition includes drawings, paintings, collages, objects, and sculptures made between 1962 and 2008.

León Ferrari: To Write explores the role of writing in Ferrari's diverse artistic production. Pairing abstractions with the artist's politically critical objects and collages, the exhibition makes a case for the interrelationship between these seemingly diverse projects.

About the Artist

Born in 1920 in Buenos Aires, León Ferrari was a self-taught artist who became one of the foremost pioneers of conceptual art in Argentina. His artistic practice encompassed the media of painting, collage, sculpture, poetry, and printmaking. Known internationally for his often-provocative social and political critiques, Ferrari made work that was highly critical of war, social inequality, discrimination (sexual, religious, and ideological), and abuse of power.

In the 1950s, Ferrari traveled repeatedly to Italy, where he began making sculpture. In the early 1960s, he began exploring the connections between word and line in Cuadros escritos (Written Paintings) and Dibujos escritos (Written Drawings) and he continued these explorations throughout his career. These abstract “writings” on canvas and paper combine dry pastel, graphite, watercolor, and colored pencil to make lyrical, almost calligraphic imagery. About these works, Ferrari writes, “I draw silent handwritten words, which tell things, with lines that recall voices. And I write drawings that recite memories that words cannot say” (Letter to Christina Harrison, 1996).

In 1965, an exhibition including Ferrari’s iconic sculpture La civilización occidental y cristiana (Western Christian Civilization) was censored and then closed by the Catholic Church. His subsequent work would challenge the policies of the church and the role of religion in the history of art. In the late 1960s, Ferrari participated in the collective known as Tucumán Arde. The group intended to draw attention to the conditions of the Tucumán Province through an intervention into the circuits of mass communication, countering the official news media of the Argentine dictatorship. During this period of increasing political activism, Ferrari published what would become a famous manifesto and call-to-arms for artists, in which he wrote, “Art is not beauty or novelty, art is effectiveness and disruption…”

Ferrari's work is included in numerous important international collections, including: The Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY, USA; Casa de las Américas, Havana, Cuba; Centro Wifredo Lam, Havana, Cuba; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland; Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA; Diane & Bruce Halle Collection, Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Harvard Art Museum, The Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA, US; The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, USA; Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Bahía Blanca, Argentina; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Argentina; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY, USA; and Tate Modern, London, UK; among others.

For more information, please contact the gallery at press@sicardi.com or call 713.529.1313.