The Words of Others

León Ferrari and Rhetoric in Times of War

The acclaimed Argentinian artist, León Ferrari (1920–2013) is best known for his politically charged work that challenged authoritarianism of all types, from the Argentinian dictatorship and the Catholic Church to the US war in Vietnam.

This publication provides a wide-ranging survey of his literary collages — produced from 1965 to 2013 — which use appropriated texts, representing a kind of experimental writing at the intersection of visual arts, performance, theatre, literature, and activism.

The starting point of this extensive body of work is Ferrari’s landmark 1966 work, Palabras Ajenas (The Words of Others). Staged only twice, in 1968 and 1972, this literary collage is an imaginary dialogue among 160 historic figures, composed of fragments from contemporary news-wires and historical texts.

Exploring a little-known and scarcely analysed aspect of León Ferrari’s work in order to propose new interpretations, this publication includes six substantial essays by academics from Latin America and Europe with previously unpublished primary source documents (press notes, photographs, and correspondence, among others).

The book is a comprehensive reflection on the intersections between artistic practices, media, and the climate of political violence in Latin America.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, The Words of Others: The Literary Collages of León Ferrari at REDCAT, Los Angeles (15 September 2017 – 16 December 2018).

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