“The Architecture of Madness”: León Ferrari’s Héliographias

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León Ferrari (1920-2013) was an Argentinian conceptual artist who worked with a series of extremely different medias through the years. Trained as an engineer, he gained notoriety in the 1960s thanks to his polemical works on religion and politics. Exiled in 1976 in Brazil, he started  a series of plans using heliography, the technique traditionally employed by architects,until the advent of the computers, in order to reproduce their drawings. Combining letraset icons to hand sketches, he invented labyrintic worlds which became part of a series called “The architecture of Madness”.

 

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From a far point of view, the large images look as chaotic patterns of walls, people, furnitures and cars. At a closer look it is possible to realize that the symbols stage paradoxical situations in which, i.e., people line up to enter empty spaces or are confined in a series of small cubicles. The paradoxes can be read as metaphors of contemporary cities where alienated individuals wander – without any apparent logic – through irrational urban patterns.The works turn the technical drawings into a narrative and symbolic device filled with sarcasm.

The following is a first series of Héliographias.

 
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Continue to: León Ferrari’s Héliographias / 2 (Iterations, Textures, Pattern)

Images:
© Leon Ferrari
© Tate, London
© Moma

Related:
Plantas para (no) perderse, by Pedro Hernandez Nostromez on Arquine (Spanish text)

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