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León Ferrari talks about traveling from São Paulo to Buenos Aires to find out what had happened to his son, who had disappeared. This was also the occasion of his first contact with the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Ferrari mentions the artists he has seen, in particular Carlos Gorriarena, and refers to his first trip to New York during the dramatic period of the Falkland Islands War. 


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 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.  
In 1982, while León Ferrari was living in exile in São Paulo, Brazil, he traveled to Buenos Aires looking for information on his son Ariel’s arrest-missing. The letter is dated during the critical phase of the Falkland Islands War between Argentina and Great Britain. In 1982, his blue prints and Photo copies works were exhibited at the Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico City.  

Ricardo Carreira (1942-1993), the Argentine conceptual artist and poet, was active during the sixties. His family was also profoundly affected by the military dictatorship’s regime in Argentina between 1975 and 83. 

Roberto Amigo
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of the Private Archives of Alicia and León Ferrari, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Archivo personal León Ferrari, Buenos Aires, Argentina.