Published by Hatje Cantz. Edited with text by Krist Gruijthuijsen, Louisa Elderton. Text by Eduardo Brandão & Jan Fjeld, Leda Catunda, Albet Hien, Yuji Kawasima, Lisette Lagnado, Ivo Mesquita, Adriano Pedrosa.
Leonilson (1957–93), also known as José Leonilson, emerged as a seminal figure of the Brazilian contemporary art world in the 1980s. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, where his paintings, drawings and installations were featured in solo and group shows in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, alongside the numerous exhibitions held in Brazil. In 1991, the artist tested positive for HIV. This diagnosis compelled a decisive shift in his career, as Leonilson began to develop his intimate embroideries, a practice he continued until his death in 1993 at the age of 36.
Drawn: 1975–1993 is the first comprehensive retrospective of Leonilson’s work in Europe and features more than 150 works produced between 1975 and 1993.
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.
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.