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Exhibition views, Photo: Ana Pigosso
Exhibition view, Photo: Ana Pigosso
Exhibition views, Photo: Ana Pigosso
Exhibition views, Photo: Ana Pigosso
Paraiso Florecido [Flowering Paradise], c. 1995, Embroidery on blanket
Sem título (Deer), n.d., Embroidery on fabric
Amargo, Picante, Salado, Agrio, Dulce, c. 1995, Embroidery fabric on blanket
Sem título (Cherry tree), s.d., Stitched fabric on blanket

Press Release

The career of Paraguayan artist Feliciano Centurión (1962 - 1996) will be honored in an unprecedented exhibition at Galeria Millan. Curated by Dominic Christie, a curator and researcher based in London, the show Feliciano Centurión: Everyday Beauty [Beleza cotidiana] – the artist's first solo show in Brazil – brings to the public a selection of fabric pieces by the artist organized in three themes: Fauna and Flora, Religious and Spiritual Iconography, and Materiality.

Feliciano Centurión's work, still little-known in Brazil, incorporates everyday objects and decorative prints from pre-existing designs. According to the artist, in a statement, “the eclecticism of our reality, with the diversity of languages and information, demands a greater commitment from us and allows us to appropriate it with total freedom to be able to express ourselves. I embrace the everyday, the banal, the ironic, the playful, happiness, and amusement."

Centurión would purchase his pieces at street markets and carry out manual interventions with embroidery and crochet on each one. The textile works use children's blankets, aprons, pillows and small cutouts of printed fabrics that recall a domestic, childlike environment and the affective sphere. They feature elements of Christian iconography, native fauna and flora of the subtropical region of Paraguay – where the artist grew up – and representations of imaginary animals. The relevance of the contact with the natural world in his production, as well as the techniques and motifs adopted, refer to the artist's Guarani ethnic roots, of which he took great pride.

Born in San Ignacio de las Misiones, in rural Paraguay, and raised by his grandmother, Centurión grew up in a Catholic environment that was made up mostly of women, which has been a hallmark of Paraguayan culture since the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870), also known as the Paraguayan War, when the country lost around 90% of its male population.

After moving to Argentina with his family during the 1980s, Centurión began his visual arts studies and, around 1989, became part of a group of artists linked to Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, associated to the University of Buenos Aires. The artists of this generation used unconventional, sometimes everyday materials in their works, such as plastic toys and objects from popular culture. From them, they developed an aesthetic associated with the kitsch and focused on the value of artistic making itself – which was opposed to the conceptualism that was in vogue during the 1970s in Latin America. In this context, Centurión participated in the 3x3 group, alongside the Argentinian artist Ana López and the Brazilian Heloísa Schneiders.

His brief artistic production, which totals around 250 works, remained practically unknown outside its original context for nearly two decades after his death in 1996, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

According to curator Dominic Christie, the show aims to “demonstrate how the visual language of Centurión emerged from a unique synthesis of his Paraguayan and Guarani roots and the cultural environment of Buenos Aires between the 1980s and 1990s.”

The cultural context of Buenos Aires allowed Feliciano Centurión to freely explore his sexuality, a theme that is present in some of his works that deal with desires and passions through homoerotic figurations, such as an intimate diary. When diagnosed HIV positive, he began to record his experience with the disease in a series of embroideries on small pillows. Thus, Centurión developed a confessional work, in which biography and artistic production come together without leaving aside broader and more subtle references to the Paraguayan and Argentine political and social context that were undergoing a process of redemocratization.