By Javier Castro Bugarín |
Buenos Aires (EFE).- Known for his provocative nature and his denunciations of the excesses of power, León Ferrari (1920-2013) was one of the most important Argentine artists of the 20th century, owner of countless “obsessions” that star the last exhibition of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Buenos Aires.
Under the title of “Recurrences”, this exhibition exhibits nearly 250 works by the artist from Buenos Aires, including his most controversial and censored creation, “The Western and Christian Civilization”, in which a crucified Christ is represented on a US war plane. ; a metaphor about the relationship between religion, politics and violence.
“León Ferrari was an artist who has crossed all borders and has had international recognition that makes us proud as Argentines. The great exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts was missing”, admits Andrés Duprat, director of the museum and co-curator of the exhibition, in statements to EFE.
Organized in collaboration with the Augusto and León Ferrari Foundation, “Recurrences” offers an anthological tour of the most representative works of this artist. Whose works served to criticize the arbitrariness of dictatorships, the complicity of religion with the powerful and the inequalities of contemporary life.
In this exhibition, which will run until August 13, visitors will be able to see some of the drawings, collages, engravings and ceramics signed by Ferrari, who maintained a more or less constant thematic coherence throughout his career as an artist.
“He was not an artist who was closing themes, like Picasso, who went from one period, closed and went to another; Rather, he had certain obsessions throughout his life and he was addressing them in a different way, ”says Duprat, in charge of preparing the exhibition together with Cecilia Rabossi.
Scheduled for March 2020, and suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, this exhibition aims to partially compensate for the absence of Ferrari from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires; a “rather noisy omission”, in Duprat’s words, given the international stature of the artist.
“This is a long-awaited exhibition, by us in the museum, but also by the entire Argentine artistic community (…). It was a notorious absence that they have not dedicated an individual exhibition to León Ferrari while he was alive, ”says the head of the institution.
Four thematic axes
Divided into four thematic axes and without a predefined chronological order, “Recurrences” brings together more than a century of works (1960-2011) by Ferrari. Where the “confidence”, the “humor” and the “mischief” so characteristic of this artist are present.
Thus, beyond “Western and Christian Civilization” -the piece most acclaimed by those attending the inauguration-, creations such as “Justice” stand out. Which shows an embalmed bird in a cage and a scale full of feces just below it.
There is also no shortage of criticism of the last Argentine civic-military dictatorship (1976-1983), with newspaper clippings of the time that already suggested the perpetration of crimes against humanity; or to the Catholic Church, a constant in his work that confronted him with the highest ecclesiastical authorities, including the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio, current Pope Francis.
“He is not a hermetic artist, that one has to do a doctorate to be able to see the works; but that he has a very direct work, that everyone can receive it ”, Duprat notes, recalling Ferrari’s deep anti-war convictions, reflected, especially, in his works against the Vietnam War.
Validity of Leon Ferrari
The chances of fate led to the opening of this exhibition coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the return of democracy to Argentina; something fundamental in the personal life of León Ferrari, who had to go into exile in Brazil and whose son Ariel disappeared during the time of state terrorism.
Four decades after these atrocities, Duprat emphasizes that Ferrari’s work remains, today, fully valid, since it affects issues that “are still present” today.
“Today we have the war in Ukraine and Russia, the problem of immigrants in Europe, the problem of the borders in the United States and Mexico… This work serves, in some way, to point out the same problems that, I hope, we will overcome,” he says. the director of the National Museum of Fine Arts.