José Leonilson

Fortaleza, CE, 1957 - São Paulo, SP, 1993


Son of textile traders, Leonilson has great affinity with sewing and embroidery, and is renowned for artworks that used embroidery to register subjectivity. His works also show the aesthetic influence of Arthur Bispo do Rosário (1911-1989). The organic forms in his drawings and paintings increasingly resemble maps of the body, with similarities to works by Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), Eva Hesse (1936-1970), Lygia Clark (1920-1988) and Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980).


The artist's autobiographic artworks were produced in little more than a decade – as his life was cut short at 36 years because of Aids. Reclusive and shy, he expressed his heartaches and yearnings in sewing, creating his own unique and poetic artwork.

Rua Caconde 152

01425 – 010 
São Paulo, Brazil

+55 11 3882 7120

Open hours:

Mon – Thu: 10h to 19h | Fri: 10h to 18h | Sat: 10h to 15h