Galeria Nara Roesler | New York presents León Ferrari, For a World with No Hell. The exhibition of Ferrari’s work follows the announcement of the gallery’s representation of the artist’s estate earlier this year.
León Ferrari, For a World with No Hell features twenty-two collages, which delve into love, language, religion, and power, recurrent themes in the artist’s oeuvre. Curated by Lisette Lagnado, curator of 26th Bienal de São Paulo (2006), the show is the second of two exhibitions of Ferrari’s work organized by the Galeria Nara Roesler in 2018.
León Ferrari: For a World with No Hell / ends Saturday 16 June / @galerianararoesler New York / click the link in our bio for more #lastchance #mustsee #LeonFerrari #GaleriaNaraRoesler #GaleriaNaraRoesler_NY #NewYork #NYC #gallery #exhibition #art #collage #abstract #geometry #avantgarde #contemporaryart #modernart #seemoreart #GalleriesNow #ID12764
The exhibition in New York was specially conceived for the gallery’s intimate setting. According to Lagnado, “the current selection sought to highlight one of the fundamental elements in an artistic life that spanned over nearly sixty years: the erotic pleasure. The show is structured around the collage La Venus tocada [The Touched Venus], in which a naked and armless sculpture, is caressed by eleven human hands. The odd number suggests the intrusion of the artist’s hand into the picture, while the depiction of the back-facing figure adds a valuable androgynous component to the definition of beauty.”
The additional collages were produced from 1986 to 1988, and from 1996 to 1998. While these are thematically concerned with love, the curator notes, “his conception, far from platonic, challenges discrimination against homosexuality and the misogyny of the holy scriptures, which are punctuated by punishments and hells.” The artist questions the contradiction between the use of sexual and violent imagery in religious iconography and the censure of sexual imagery in relation to pleasure. Throughout his career, Ferrari produced pieces that challenged commandments, political and scientific doctrines. Therefore, the relationship between Art and Power defines Ferrari’s body of work, which vehemently denounces violence.
In her selection, the curator combines artworks that employ oriental iconography and braille as a means to expand the visual repertoire beyond a Greco-Roman aesthetic and embrace a sensorial energy. The importance of braille is tied to the investigation of language, which is central to Ferrari’s practice. As Lagnado explains, “The fusion of mysticism and blindness applies to the text and images simultaneously, taking into consideration that text is an image.” In some of his most notorious series, the artist questions excerpts of canonical texts by creating enmeshed lines, a process which entails distorting calligraphies so that they become unreadable, inspiring imaginary codes and creating an inaccessible language. In 2009, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, presented Tangled Alphabets: Leon Ferrari and Mira Schendel, curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas, which focused on these artists’ investigations of the written language in visual art. Now, nearly a decade later, Galeria Nara Roesler | New York, presents an exhibition that questions, as Lagnado writes, “For whom are these alphabets? And what do they have to say about the images to which they are associated?”
León Ferrari (Buenos Aires, 1920–2013) is one of the most celebrated Latin American artists in the world. He was widely acclaimed in 2007 in La Biennale di Venezia, where he received the Golden Lion in recognition of a body of work that, until the end of his life, motivated him to challenge the world in which we live. In his artistic practice, he used such diverse languages as sculpture, drawing, writing, collage, assemblage, installation, and video, integrating themes that reveal his character as a researcher and activist: the aesthetic investigation of language; the questioning of the Western world, power, and the rules that dictate the values of religion, art, justice, and the state; the reverence for women and eroticism; and the depiction of violence. His poetics, recognized since his early works, also draws on repetition, irony, and literality.