Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    A invenção e a máquina / Aracy A. Amaral
    A arte de León Ferrari : escultura gravura desenho livros.licopódios hiliografias. --São Paulo, Brasil : Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo - Ediçoes Licópodio, 5 de mayo – 1 de junio de 1980.
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Amaral, Aracy. "A invenção e a máquina." In A arte de León Ferrari: escultura gravura desenho livros. licopódios hiliografias. São Paulo: Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Ediciones Licopodio, 1980.

Aracy Amaral, the Brazilian art critic, discusses the formal qualities of León Ferrari’s work, referring to his inventive use of a machine as a means of reproduction. She can see how Ferrari’s production was affected by the urban environment of São Paulo, Brazil. Amaral mentions both his use of Letraset and his evolution as an artist, with a backward glance at the work Ferrari produced in the sixties.


León Ferrari was born in Buenos Aires in 1920, 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 documents 743800, 744085, and 761879). 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 743960, 744392, and 743870, among others). In 1984 his work was once again exhibited in Buenos Aires, where he finally returned and settled.  
This exhibition is a retrospective of Ferrari’s works produced between 1964 and 1980, and combines two periods of the artist’s oeuvre.

Roberto Amigo
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of the Private Archives of Aracy A. Amaral, São Paulo, Brasil
Archivo personal León Ferrari.