León Ferrari

Tower of Babel

1963

Artist
León Ferrari 1920–2013
Original title
Torre de Babel
Medium
Steel, copper wire, bronze, tin and lead
Dimensions
Object: 2000 x 800 x 800 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery 2009
Reference
T12909

On loan to: The Met Breuer (New York, USA)

Exhibition: Delirious: Art and the Irrational, 1950-1980

Display caption

Ferrari made his first wire-based sculpture in 1961. He began by knotting or securing the wires with washers and later employed soldering. Tower of Babel is one of his emblematic works from the 1960s. It evokes an edifice, perhaps an imaginary jail for the military, according to notes in his sketchbooks, with crumpled sheets of copper and bronze inserted in the body of the wire column. Ferrari continued making wire sculptures during his exile in Brazil in the 1980s, turning them into musical instruments or, as he calls them, ‘artefacts for drawing sounds’.

Gallery label, June 2011

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