Drawn 1975 – 1993

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Project description

The Brazilian Leonilson (1957-1993) produced a multifaceted body of works which made him one of the most influential Latin American artists of his time. He was also one of the central figures of the artists’ group Geração 80 whose socio-critical art and ties to local traditions and forms significantly helped re-establish Brazil as an international art hub following the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. The comprehensive solo exhibition is the first in Europe to offer an overview of Leonilson’s artwork. In his early pieces, he interweaved allegorical depictions with text and psychologising imagery to create an eclectic subjectivism. Inspired by the embroidery of the Shakers, an American Christian sect, he shifted from painting to fabric art at the end of the 1980s. His works in this period present the body as a symbol of society in transformation. After being diagnosed with HIV, his artistic imagery underwent a dramatic change. His diary-like works created from 1991 to 1993 are characterised by his occupation with mortality and his increasingly failing physical condition. He took to reducing the images in his embroideries to a handful of abstract forms and textual elements. The extensive accompanying programme will illustrate how Leonilson’s treatment of identity-political issues and the relationship of the body and politics are highly relevant to contemporary artists today. The artists will stage various performances which address the damaged, sick or marginalised body and how it is currently perceived.

Artistic director: Krist Gruijthuijsen
Artist: Leonilson


No upcoming events at present

Previous events

  • 25 February, 2021 : Film Screening: A Paixão de JL (2015) | 7 pm

    via KW’s website, www.kw-berlin.de

  • 1 February, 2021 to 2 May, 2021: Exhibition

    KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin



KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Auguststraße 69
10117 Berlin

www.kw-berlin.de (external link, opens in a new window)