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León Ferrari: L’aimable cruauté at Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou presents the very first museum exhibition of Léon Ferrari's work in France. Léon Ferrari (1920-2013) is the creator of a protean, alternately mysterious and literal body of work whose formal rigour is on a par with his subversive power. 

While working as an engineer, he began to draw as an autodidact in 1946 but it was in 1952, when he moved to Italy with his family, that he made his first ceramic sculptures. Struck by the violence of his time, particularly that of the Vietnam War, Ferrari dedicated his work to demonstrating the barbarity of the liberal Western world. Holding Christianity responsible for the contemporary phenomena of torture and exclusion, his anticolonial discourse went hand in hand with fierce anticlericalism. Rejecting all purely formal approaches to his work, Ferrari never ceased to warn us about the process by means of which art embellishes and trivialises violence – a mechanism he called "amiable cruelty". 

Curated by: Andrea Wain

León Ferrari « La Civilización Occidental y Cristiana »,1965. Assembly: painted wooden military aircraft and plaster Christ. © Fundación Augusto y León Ferrari Arte y Acervo Exposition « La bondadosa crueldad. León Ferrari 100 años » au Museo Reina Sofía (Espagne) © Photo: Joaquín Cortés/Román Lores. Archivofotográfico del Museo Reina Sofía. December 2020