León Ferrari: written images and heliographies

Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (Museo Moderno)

Donation Ferrari 2015

Celebrating 58 years since it first opened its doors, the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires has been greatly honored with a priceless set of 72 drawings by León Ferrari, generously donated by Alicia Ferrari, his children, and his grandchildren.

Among the earliest of Ferrari's works donated, the most interesting are those in which he explores the possibility of drawing as writing. These include The Crested Lark (1964), a written drawing forming part of a broad series in which León invents contoured calligraphies dripping with sarcasm and humor.

Ferrari used these to establish new possibilities for art as well as for writing.

The Heliographies are large plans that Ferrari would send by mail, motivated by his belief in democratizing art. They were created between 1982 and 1983 during his exile in São Paulo, Brazil. New copies were made in 2003

In 1979, León started to create drawings incorporating Letraset copies for architectural plans representing men, toilets, beds, or doors.

The series of Heliographies which he started in 1980 consists of large heliographic plans depicting a society in which the man has become depersonalized.

The use of the copies enabled Ferrari to systematize the representation of the human figure who, multiplied in uniformity, seems happy to live by the rules of an anonymous system of power.

On the paper, the infinite number of men continually wind, in line, until they are lost, mimicking the line in his earlier drawings.

Some of these plans, which León describes as "architectures of craziness," measure up to one meter by almost three meters.

The Heliographies were reproduced in infinite editions that León would send by mail, clearly demonstrating his ambition to distribute his views as far and wide as possible.

Embroilment, entanglement, repetition and the profuse character of all Ferrari's work continue as a fundamental element.

Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (Museo Moderno)
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