The Leonilson Project, created by the artist's family and friends,
existed on an informal basis from September 1993 until March 1995,
at which point a non-profit-making Civil Society was founded, in
order to catalogue and organise the artist's works. With the contribution
of an advisory council, formed by members of the artist's family,
friends, critics and other artists, this group remained active until
the year 2000, supervising the disclosure, research and cataloguing
of the artist's work. This year, certain members of the group have
surrendered their functions within the Society, and a provisional
council has been created, formed of family members, who are working
in collaboration with a team of professionals from the Leonilson
Project. The work continues to catalogue, research and disclose
the artist's work, as well as to assure the conservation of the
collection, which is under the protection of the Project.
the present moment, 2300 works have been located, amongst them drawings,
paintings, embroideries, sculptures, installations and other objects,
all registered on a computer database. The research continues to
develop, and consists of the following tasks: tracing collections
both in Brazil and abroad; organising and producing iconographic
materials (negatives, slides; the organisation of the artist's private
collection; organising press releases; forming a bibliography, chronology
and an up-to-date list of individual and collective exhibitions;
information about each piece of work - where it was exhibited and
where it was reproduced); a survey of the uncompleted writings and
projects, and an inventory of the registered work that has still
not been located.
Project, which has now existed for approximately eight years, has
become a national and international reference for researchers, curators
and students alike. It also receives and works directly with institutions,
with invitations to organize and participate in exhibitions both
in Brazil and abroad. One of the most important events of the Society,
with the collaboration of the SESI, was the exhibition - "Leonilson:
There are so many truths", which took place in the Sesi Art
Gallery in 1996, with Lisette Lagnado as curator. This retrospective
exhibition was also accompanied by an important publication, which
has since become a strong reference for the artist's work. This
book, published by DBA, is now in its second edition.
1997, the Society received the support of Linc - the State of São
Paulo Cultural Incentive Law, which permitted the Project to function
throughout the entire year of 1998, as well as to acquire vital
computer equipment, and to undertake the production of 300 slides
of the artist's work located throughout Brazil and abroad.
1998 the artist's work received a special invitation to participate
in the XXIVth. Bienal of São Paulo. Besides having details
of his work portrayed on the advertising posters and the logo of
the event, one entire room was dedicated to Leonilson's work, with
Adriano Pedrosa as curator. Between 1999 and 2000, we were success
in achieving an important partnership with the Itaú Cultural.
This permitted the Project to continue its activities, and a further
500 slides of collections in the city of São Paulo were produced.
In 2001, this same institution repeated its sponsorship, and awarded
the Project a grant that has permitted us to function for a further
six months, pursuing important tasks and procedures concerning the
production of a general catalogue of the artist's work.
parallel to all of these activities, the Leonilson Project has also
been achieving important contacts, acting as intermediaries between
the artist's family and institutions and museums both in Brazil
and abroad. In 1997 the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
received a piece of work donated by a enterprise in partnership
with the artist's family that managed a significant discount on
the final value of the work, thus enabling a viable acquisition.
In 1998, this same museum received an important donation from the
artist's family of fourteen designs, one painting and one embroidery.
In the same year, other important contacts were made. The Museu
de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul acquired one painting. The Los Angeles
County Museum of Art, acquired one embroidery. The New York Museum
of Modern Art received a donation of one embroidery and two drawings
and as a result, acquired a further three drawings. In 1999, it
was the turn of the Contemporary Museu de Arte Contemporânea
de São Paulo. This museum received one embroidery, one painting
and four drawings. In 2001, the Tate Modern in London received a
donation of one embroidery. Other important contacts are currently
Leonilson Project continues working towards the creation of a general
catalogue of the artist's works, despite financial difficulties.
Our constant financial difficulties exist even though we are still
fortunate enough to be able to count on the important sponsorship
provided by the Itaú Bank Cultural Institute.
are constantly in search of other financial support, which will
effectively contribute to the realisation of the catalogue.
order to fulfil this need, we are now able to call upon a project
that has been approved within the Rouanet Law. This is a law, which
permits any donating body to receive federal tax rebates of up to
100% on the total of the invested value.