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Rafael Alberti discusses the controversy that erupted over León Ferrari’s exhibition at the Torcuato Di Tella Institute in response to critical reviews regarding the political nature of the works involved. The poet goes on to talk about Anticolo Corrado, the Italian, and his political situation. He also mentions his friendship with his village priest. There is a poem and a drawing on the other side of the sheet of paper.


León Ferrari (1920–2013) was born in Buenos Aires, the son of Augusto Cesare Ferrari, the Italian artist and architect. The younger Ferrari was a latecomer to the plastic arts, a status which allowed him to function as a link between the generation of artists from the late fifties and the young avant-garde of the sixties. His early works were ceramic sculptures, but in later years he experimented with wire structures, with a visual form of writing, and with collages. There are two distinct themes running through his work: one is a strong condemnation of military dictatorships, American imperialism, and the ideology of the Catholic Church. The other has a more formalistic quality, expressed in a conceptual style and, at times, in the surrealist tradition. His 1965 object-montage, titled Civilización Occidental y Cristiana [Western Christian Civilization], was censured at the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [the Torcuato Di Tella Institute’s Visual Arts Center] (see document). It depicts a Christ mounted on a US Air Force bomber that is plunging Earthward. Ferrari was involved in the political conceptualism movement of the seventies (particularly Tucumán Arde, in 1968).In response to the most recent Argentine military dictatorship’s repressive regime (1975-83), he went into exile in Brazil, where he explored a variety of ideas, such as formalism and the reproducibility of a work, as well as the spatial relationship between sculpture and music (see documents). In 1984 his work was once again exhibited in Buenos Aires, where he finally returned and settled.  

Correspondencebetween the Argentine artist León Ferrari and the Spanish writer Rafael Alberti (Cádiz, 1902-1999). Alberti lived in Buenos Aires during most of his time in exile, until 1963 when he settled in Rome. These two once worked together on a joint project: Rafael Alberti, Escrito en el aire: 9 poemas inéditos de Rafael Alberti para 9 dibujos de León Ferrari [Rafael Alberti, "Written in the Air": 9 unpublished poems by Rafael Alberti to accompany 9 drawings by León Ferrari](Milán: All´insegna del pesce d’oro, 1964).

Roberto Amigo
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Archivo personal León Ferrari, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.