Video: José Leonilson – Empty Man Exhibition Opens at Americas Society

Learn more about the intimate and sensitive work of this key Brazilian contemporary artist.

"It's this play between truth and fiction that comes out through his work. They are almost like poems." That's how Curator Cecilia Brunson describes the works of José Leonilson: Empty Man, the first U.S. solo exhibition of the key Brazilian artist José Leonilson, presented at the Americas Society this Fall through February 2018. 

Focusing on Leonilson’s production as a mature artist, the show features approximately fifty paintings, drawings, and intimate embroideries made between the mid-1980s until 1993, when the artist died of AIDS.

In this video, Brunson—who brought the project to Americas Society—explains how the exhibition was organized. By taking as its starting point the works produced during the last three years of his life and then moving backwards, the exhibition maps Leonilson’s artistic journey following the reverse chronology of T.S. Eliot: “In the beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning.”

Americas Society's Visual Arts Assistant Curator Susanna Temkin also talks about how the exhibition came to be named "Empty Man" based on one of Leonilson's pieces.

A fully illustrated publication with newly commissioned texts, edited by Americas Society's Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel and Karen Marta is being produced in conjunction with the exhibition.