Concrete Scrawls

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Argentinian artist León Ferrari's work has often been read as comprising two distinct orientations: an explicitly political, content-centred one on the one hand and, on the other, a formalist, apolitical one. This article contests the basis of this distinction, arguing that the distinction occludes Ferrari's primary artistic practice – that of making lines. Understanding line-making as a political act – one that leaves intact the traces of the signifier's emergence – the author reads Ferrari's work in dialogue both with Brazilian Concrete poetry – an important line-making enterprise contemporary to his work – and with the explosion of signification in other realms of public life. He concludes that Ferrari's formalist work is premised on unmasking the false transparency of all communication.
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