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Leon Ferrari

Leon Ferrari

Argentina - 1920 - 2013

Born in 1920, Buenos Aires, León Ferrari was raised in a Catholic environment where he worked for his father constructing and painting churches after he graduated from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (1947) with a degree in Engineering. León started working with ceramics when his family had to move to Rome (1953-1955) to treat his first daughter Mariela for Tuberculous Meningitis. There he discovered his love of clay and ceramic forms, which landed him his first solo show in Milan and began his association with other artists such as Lucio Fontana, Renato Marino and Meli. Ferrari continued on to have one man shows in Argentina and to raise criticism from the church and newspapers through his sarcastic religious and political works such as The Impregnating Tree (the first to openly criticize Christianity). His international acclaim began after his politically induced self-exile to Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1976 after the many military crimes which took place over a coup d’état in March of that year. On his return to Buenos Aires in 1991 he began focusing on political works such as La Justicia, 1991 a commentary on the judicial system in Argentina using a hen defecating on a pair of scales. In 2000 Ferarri’s exhibition of Infiernos e Idolatrias (Hells and Idolatries) at the Latin American Institute of Co-operation protested against human and divine tortures. This provoked Catholic groups into sending tear gas grenades into the building. In 2004, Ferrari had a retrospective at the Recoleta Cultural Centre, which was called blasphemous by Archbishop Bergoglio and was closed down and reopened by the authorities. In December 2007, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the 52nd Venice Biennale on the grounds of aesthetic quality and ethical values. Leon Ferrari lives and works in Buenos Aires.


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