For a coastal city like Fortaleza, the mountain is the countryside. The personal and subjective landscape of a cartography as a mental self-portrait. An imaginary atlas that explores and lists a set of letters, geographical plans and the watery record of the surfaces of islands, rivers and flaming veins full of blood and ink, in a geometric, elementary, plain representation of the map that perhaps organizes notes, memories, abysses, paths and passions.
The cage-globe limits the intimacy and solitary pyrotechnics of erupting volcanoes. The fuse-words of a pyromaniac character sew the fuse of veils and the empty blank of infinite paper for someone who loves and acknowledges his fragility, but also knows his poetic courage and the radicalism of a person who dreams of clouds and builds mountains. Leonilson thus creates his cosmology of restless, overflowing and intense meanings. Through line and word, without artifice, like a precise ballast.
30 years after Leo’s death, this exhibition is a selection of his works in conversation with drawings, paintings and embroideries produced between the 1970s and 1980s by Ceará artists Bathista Sena; Efimia Meimaridou (Efi); Karim Aïnouz; Luiz Hermano; Siegbert Franklin; Zé Tarcísio and Marcus Francisco Alcântara. Leonilson’s friends are present in his diaries, in which there is a dialogue that offers us a powerful and still relevant vision of our turbulent being-in-the-world.
Through “Leonilson: shielding mountains and faraway volcanoes, rivers, hurricanes, seas, abysses & On friendships”, the Pinacotheca of Ceará celebrates, in its inaugural year, the persistence of those who make it a contemporary space. A studio-museum for critical reflection and exercise on what is unstoppable to us: the insertion of culture and art as fundamental and transversal references in our daily lives.
Our acknowledgements to curators Ricardo Resende and Aline Albuquerque, for their generous dedication during months of research and encounters with Leonilson’s works and friendships, reunited in a delicate and affectionate curatorial seam; and also to the Leonilson Project, which has played a decisive role in preserving and disseminating the artist’s legacy. In particular, we would like to thank the president of the institution, Nicinha, Leonilson’s sister, for her fundamental partnership in making this exhibition a reality, as well as the public and private collections that have joined in this project.
The artists who were able to experience Leo’s “living friends”, sharing the intimacy, love and anguish of life and artistic creation with him, we thank them for their presence at this exhibition, as well as their families for their commitment to the transmission and enjoyment of their works. It is an honor for us.
Finally, we would like to thank the Pinacotheca of Ceará team, which collectively builds, day after day, a public museum that is free, accessible, and increasingly relevant to the visual arts in Ceará and Brazil.