Nosotros no sabíamos, 1976 (2008)
León Ferrari began his artistic career in 1955 with a series of sculptures in various materials such as ceramic, wire and wood. In the sixties his works were characterised by an illegible writing in which the written word organised the visual space – writings that are primarily drawings rather than texts.
It was also during this time that his works acquired a strong political component, such as his montage The Western and Christian Civilisation of 1965 (during the first American bombings in Vietnam). In this work a figure of Christ, suspended vertically, is crucified on an American bomber. Using multiple techniques and media, yet favouring photomontage, he explores the relationship between violence and religion. The literalness of this work (at times he even uses clippings of L’Obsservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican) has often provoked scandals with political repercussions, including its condemnation by Catholic movements.1
In 1976 he started to cut out newspaper articles reporting on bodies that had begun to appear, following the military coup d’état, in different areas of Buenos Aires and along the coast of the La Plata River. Collected in a book, these testimonies challenge the attitude ‘We didn’t know’, a claim by which many sought to justify their indifference toward the violence with which the military Junta governed the country from 1976 to 1983. Ferrari continued organising these newspaper clippings in more or less chronological order until forced to abandon the country for political reasons. He settled in São Paulo, Brazil, where he resumed working on sculpture and experimented with new techniques such as photocopies, heliographic prints and microfiche. Between 1980 and 1982 Ferrari devoted himself to a series of works on polyester reproduced in heliographic prints – often humorous and full of irony, he refers to them as ‘an architecture of madness’. In these plans, he uses architectural images taken from Letraset, distorting their basic rules and creating contradictory and absurd spatial organisations and connections. Elsewhere, he substitutes the tiny figures by cars in impressive vistas of elevated highways and impossible intersections. With these works Ferrari explores the forms of control in contemporary society, possibly inspired by the speed and masses of São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world.
- Original title:
- Nosotros no sabíamos
- Registration number:
- Ferrari, León
- Date created:
- 1976 (2008)
- Date acquired:
- MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
- Object type:
- Graphic material
- Laser print on paper
- 81 elements 42 x 29.7 cm c/u (height x width)
- MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium. Gift of the artist
- © León Ferrari
- It has accessibility resources:
The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.
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