León Ferrari - Serie de Errores and Works 1962-2006
We are honored to present the first León Ferrari gallery exhibition in New York.
The exhibition features a little known but critical aspect of Ferrari’s oeuvre, the 1991 Error Series. In these stunning large ink drawings on paper and on high impact polystyrene, Ferrari reduced drawing to its purest and most autonomous essence, to record complex and abstract ideas. An engineer by training, Ferrari used the mathematical curve called a sinusoid, which is the Cartesian representation of an angle’s sine, as his point of departure.
The artist stated that “the obsessive repetition of the curve in its apparently boring uniformity is free only to make mistakes, lithely wriggling on the paper knowing that it will never attain the perfection of the leg of the hypotenuse. A drawing then can be the sum of infinite, persevering errors that the pen makes as it caresses the paper leaving its black ink trail.”
On view are numerous examples of his ‘written drawings’ from the early 1960s to this year; two hanging sculptures; a small, delicate wire sculpture from his musical Instrumentos series, a meter-tall architecture in stainless steel; and Prism a written-all-over object with an excerpt from Borges’ short story “El Inmortal.”
Prior to this gallery exhibition, Ferrari’s work was seen in New York in a handful of exhibitions over the past 20 years. In September 2004, the Drawing Center presented Politiscripts an exhibition of Ferrari’s subversive 1960s calligraphic drawings. Holland Cotter wrote that they “...convey the impression of carrying coded and encrypted information known only to the artist. In short, they are like a taunting gesture of counter-censorship. Through its very opaqueness, abstraction, real or imagined, becomes a political tool.” New York Times, October 8, 2004.
On October 17, 2007, León Ferrari was awarded the Gold Lion at the 52nd Venice Biennale; the jury stated “There is a body of work in the Arsenale that presents just some examples of a long and substantial career. The artist in question has continued a critical practice in the context of an often antagonistic political and social situation. He is given this award not only for his ethical attitude and political commitment, but also for a contemporary aesthetic relevance that is unexpected for a practice that spans six decades. The Golden Lion to an artist exhibited in the central International Exhibition is given to León Ferrari.”
Essay by Victoria Verlichak
b. 1920, Buenos Aires, Argentina – d. 2013, Buenos Aires
Recognized for his unique oeuvre which blends art with politics, drawing with sculpture, and concept with form, León Ferrari is today regarded as one of the most important Latin American artists of the second half of the twentieth century.
Although he began his career in Argentina pursuing parallel interests in art and engineering (an influence which can be observed in the structural emphasis of much of his work), Ferrari first started exhibiting ceramic sculptures in the 1950s. From this point of origin, his artistic experiments expanded over the decades to include film, drawings, found objects, and hanging sculptures in materials ranging from wire to bones.
Despite the diversity of his artwork, a fascination for language - as a means of communication, as a visual form, and as a metaphor - has permeated Ferrari's career. This is perhaps best observed in his written drawings, which take their departure from written script.
A world-renowned artist, Ferrari's work is included in major museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY; the Casa de las Americas, Havana; Daros Latin America, Zurich; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The artist received the prestigious Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Biennale in 2007. In 2009, New York's Museum of Modern Art showed León Ferrari's and Mira Schendel's work in its dual retrospective exhibition, Tangled Alphabets.
Please click for Chronology