Niall HD Geraghty (UCL/ILAS): 'Repaying evil with a blessing: León Ferrari’s illustrated Nunca más and beyond'
|Dates:||6 November 2019|
|Times:||17:00 - 18:30|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Speaker:||, Dr Niall HD Geraghty|
León Ferrari (1920-2013) was and remains one of the most provocative visual artists in twentieth-century Argentina. His artistic practice (incorporating painting, collage, sculpture, poetry, and printmaking) consistently blended art and politics, coupling a denunciation of structural and political violence (including the crimes of the last Argentine dictatorship) with a rigorous critique of the Catholic Church. By examining Ferrari’s illustrated version of the final report produced by the Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas, Nunca más, this paper will first propose that his reflections on violence and power (both ecclesiastical and military) embody fragments of the competing religious discourses that helped shape the dictatorship of 1976-1983 and justify its extreme violence. Despite Ferrari’s condemnation of the Catholic Church, however, it will then be argued that his work can be read as a profound source of theological experimentation. To this end, further analysis of Ferrari’s Nunca más collages – which incorporate classical depictions of divine judgement alongside military, civilian and ecclesiastical leaders – and artworks from Ferrari’s series Relecturas de la Biblia (1983-2012) and Brailles (1997-2012) will demonstrate that his images need not be read purely as an act of denunciation. While it will be recognised that Ferrari’s art radically challenges ecclesiastical authority and reconfigures theological conceptions of the body and sexuality, by drawing on the work of Leonardo Boff and Marcella Althaus-Reid, it will be shown that his reflections on the atrocities of the recent past can contribute to the rejuvenation of Catholic thought. By extension, it will also be proposed that revisiting Ferrari’s work can contribute to important contemporary debates in Argentina of acute importance to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the laity, and civil society more generally.
Niall HD Geraghty is Lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University College London.
Dr Niall HD Geraghty
Role: Lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
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