José Leonilson

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José Leonilson was a Brazilian artist who died tragically young in 1993. He was only 36 when he died from AIDS, part of that generation of male artists that we lost far too soon.

His work has the sort of quiet melancholy that I always admire.


José Leonilson: 34 with Scars, 1991

I love this piece, especially the indelicate, puckered, slightly haphazard embroidery and the way the fabric is not stretched taut but instead is just hanging loosely on the wall. It’s pretty obvious why I like his work, since it relates quite strongly to my own, particularly my thread drawings:

Kirsty Hall, 'Parse', red thread drawing
Kirsty Hall: Parse, 2007

There are correspondences between our respective drawings too – although this small watercolour and ink drawing is more figurative than my style, I could easily imagine it on a Diary Project envelope.


José Leonilson: Desire is a Blue Lake, 1989

I like the emptiness in this drawing, it takes a certain amount of artistic nerve to leave a lot of white space on the page.

I am an artist & purveyor of obsessive projects based in Hebden Bridge, England. My work involves the accretion of large numbers of small objects - pins in fabric, knots in string or hundreds of envelopes - to make sculptures that deal with fragility, loss, repetition, obsession and time.

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