Leonilson, Exposição '4 Artistas' (Exhibition '4 Artists') - Centro Cultural São Paulo, 1989


___ 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.

___ Until 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.

___ The 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.

___ In 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.

___ In 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.

___ In 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 being negotiated.

___ The 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.

___ We are constantly in search of other financial support, which will effectively contribute to the realisation of the catalogue.

___ In 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.