Collection

León Ferrari (1920 - 2013)

Sin título (Caligrafia: texto de 'Elogio de la sombra', J.L.Borges, 1969) (1997)
Untitled (Calligraphy: text from 'In Praise of Darkness', J.L. Borges, 1969)

Ink and lacquer on paper
height: 52cm
width: 36cm
Drawing

Donated by León Ferrari 2002

7-2002

This untitled calligraphy is a transcription of part of a poem by Jorge Luis Borges into a pictorial object. Entitled Elogio de la Sombra, the poem dates from 1969 when Borges was losing his sight and describes the process of becoming blind. In this work Ferrari uses the poem both as idea and material.

The handwriting is highly curvilinear and irregular, closer to drawing than to writing, and it is laid on a layer of marks made on the page with white lacquer. These signs create a sense of depth and also provide a texture to the surface. The signs and white layers compose a significant synthesis by merging the concept and its visual manifestation: parts of the text are entangled and overlapped to suggest optical confusion while others float on the page in isolated statements like serene islands.

This calligraphy belongs to the series of works on paper entitled Escrituras Deformadas (Deformed Writings). The calligraphies emerged as one of the many strands in Ferrari's career in 1963, when he created the Letters to a General, a series that inaugurated a highly visual and politicised direction for conceptualism. Since then Ferrari has continued to make works in the form of calligraphies and employs the most varied supports, including mannequins, glass sheets, board or paper, photographs, newsprint and even pieces of clothing.

Calligraphy text, from Borges, Elogio de la Sombra:
Mis amigos no tienen cara,
las mujeres son lo que fueron hace ya tantos años,
las esquinas pueden ser otras, no hay letras en las páginas de los libros.
Todo esto debería atemorizarme,
pero es una dulzura, un regreso.
De las generaciones de los textos que hay en la tierra
sólo habrá; leído unos pocos,
los que sigo leyendo en la memoria,
leyendo y transformando.

Gabriela Salgado, 2008