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León Ferrari
(Buenos Aires, 1920)

Studied engineering at Universidad de Buenos Aires and worked as an engineer until 1976. At the same time, in the late 50s, he started his career as an artist. In 1963 he made the first works with political content; and between 1965 and 1970 he used the Vietman War as the central theme of his work. In 1965 he presented four works which criticised the American military action at the Instituto Di Tella. One of them, “La civilización occidental y cristiana” (Western and Christian Civilization), was rejected. He participated in the Homage to Vietnam in 1966 and was one of the creators of “Tucumán arde” in 1968. Between 1972 and 1976 he was a member of groups defending individual liberties and at the start of the military dictatorship he emigrated to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he made metal sculptures and experimented with photocopying, mail art, heliography, videotext, artist’s books and printing. When he returned from Brazil he produced anti-religious works, with collages and illustrations from the Bible, where he mixed catholic iconography with oriental erotica and contemporary images, used bird’s faeces and reflected upon Christianity, repression and power. He participated in public accusations against the disappearance of people; in 2000 he presented the exhibition “Infiernos e Idolatrías” against torture in Christian afterlife at ICI in Buenos Aires, and in 2001 he presented “Osservatore Romano”, a series of collages using the Vatican City newspaper. In 2004 he presented a polemic retrospective exhibition at Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires. He received an award at the Havanna Biennial 1984, a prize for the best exhibition by the Asociación de Críticos de Sao Pablo in 1983, the Guggenheim fellowship in 1995, the professional achievement prize by the Asociación de Críticos Argentinos in 1998, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and the first prize from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes in 2009. He lives and works in Buenos Aires.


L'Osservatore Romano 2001/2007
The images are based on the newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano” from the Vatican City. Series of collages made in 2001, copied to paper in 2007. Courtesy of Augusto and León Ferrari Foundation


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