Observatori de la Cultura de les Illes Balears
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UNIÓN_AC ; against the censorship of León Ferrari’s work

The Union of Contemporary Artists of Spain shows its support to the director of the National Museum of Art Reina Sofía, Manuel Borja-Villel, and to the Commissioners of the retrospective exhibition on the work of the Argentine León Ferrari (1920-2013) on the occasion of the centennial of his birth, in front of the complaint presented by the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers.

The exhibition La bondadosa cruelty (whose name has been taken from the book of poems and collages dedicated to his son Ariel, disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship) can be seen until 12 April 2021 in the National Museum of Art Reina Sofía, and shows more than 200 pieces between original works and copies given by the artist’s family in central Spain in an exhibition that will then travel to the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. After the tour, pieces valued at more than half a million euros will be made part of Queen Sofia’s funds.

León d’Or de la Biennal de Venice in 2007, León Ferrari was a teacher of political denunciation and questioning of power structures and their connivance with violence. He reinterpreted Miguel Ángel’s final trial pointing to the link between political and religious power that sowed terror in Argentina during the Videla dictatorship between 1976 and 1983, and in 1965 he produced a sculptural iconic collage in which, on the reproduction of a bomb-loaded military aircraft, he placed the figure of a crucified Christ. The work is Western and Christian civilization, which can be seen in Queen Sofia’s aforementioned exhibition, and its idea arose from the intense rejection of American bombing in Vietnam.

Despite the posters warning that images may harm the viewer’s sensitivity, Christian lawyers have asked the Court of Justice for precautionary measures to close the exhibition. In addition, he calls for the dismissal of Borja-Villel at the head of Queen Sofia and for his disqualification to serve in any public office. Christian lawyers, who have already complained against Borja-Villel in 2014, have filed more than sixty complaints over the last decade for ‘offending religious sentiment’ against whites as diverse as, among others, actor Willy Toledo, the Femen collective, the City Council of Madrid or the President of the Government.

We in the Union of Contemporary Artists in Spain join other groups in calling for the repeal of this obsolete legal figure in our Penal Code, suppressed in France since 1881, and most recently in the Netherlands since 2013, in Norway since 2015, in Denmark since 2017 or in Ireland since 2018. It is a crime whose only function is to call into question the work and criterion of cultural professionals by a lobby which only seems to remember cultural institutions to exercise censorship. All our solidarity with those responsible for the exhibition

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