Sunday, 24 March 2013

Argentina: Leon Ferrari

Of course, an Argentina post on 24 March to mark the country's coup anniversary and key memory-related date.

An exhibition of the work of artist Leon Ferrari opened yesterday at the Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti, which is on the site of the former ESMA detention centre. It contains over 500 pieces, not all of them complete, and is intended to show the "creative laboratory" of the artist, according to curator Andrés Duprat.

Ferrari is a well-known and outspoken figure in Argentina, particularly because of his clashes with the Church. One of his best-known works, La civilización occidental y cristiana ("Western-Christian Civilization"), depicts Christ crucified on a fighter plane. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio - now Pope Francis - condemned his art as "blasphemous". In 2004, Bergoglio was involved in condemnations of an exhibition of Ferrari's which was closed amid protests, including the damaging of some works - although it was later reopened.

Ferrari had a very personal connection with the dictatorship in the country, as his son Ariel was disappeared. Leon himself lived in exile, from where he cut out clippings from newspapers reporting on deaths, disappearances and atrocities in Argentina. These records of state terrorism became part of the series Nosotro no sabiamos ("We didn't know"), which is an eloquent reply to those who pleaded ignorance of the regime's crimes.

The exhibition runs until 26 May and entrance is free

León Ferrari: Art, Archive, and Memory (Andrea Wain, Hemispheric Institute)
León Ferrari (official website)
Un paseo por el taller de León Ferrari (Telam)
El laboratorio de un artista inmenso (Pagina/12)

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