José Leonilson: Empty Man
Published by Koenig Books.
Edited by Karen Marta, Gabriela Rangel. Foreword by Susan Segal. Text by Jenni Sorkin, Yuji Kawasima, Luis Perez Oramas, Cecilia Brunson, Gabriela Rangel, Susanna V. Temkin.
The short and prolific career of a Brazilian artist who rediscovered the "joy of painting" following the end of Brazil's dictatorship
José Leonilson (1957–93) came of age as an artist as part of the 1980s generation in Brazil. What he shared with the diverse artistic milieu of that time was a so-called "joy of painting," rediscovered in the years following the end of Brazil's dictatorship. What separated him from his contemporaries was his personal way of working and his distinct aesthetic centered on raw emotional feelings, introspective musings and private affairs.
Focusing on Leonilson's production as a mature artist, this volume features nearly 50 paintings, drawings and embroideries made between the mid-1980s until 1993, when the artist died of AIDS. In this short yet prolific period, Leonilson fully developed a unique artistic language in dialogue with other contemporary art practices, Brazilian vernacular traditions and global issues prompted by the AIDS crisis.