Institut suédois is currently closed for exhibition changeover. Welcome on 7 March 2024 for the opening of "Suivre les ondes"! FIKA remains open in the meantime.
Close notice

Discussion: Leonor Fini or the art of self-invention

We will be spending an evening exploring the life and work of an artist whose memory inhabits both the Institut suédois and the current exhibition devoted to Sara-Vide Ericson.
Painting in dark colours of the face of a woman wearing a cat mask.

Leonor Fini is famous for her surrealist paintings, her unconventional lifestyle, her many lovers and her love of cats. Other aspects of her artistic life have been less extensively studied, however: her self-performances, disguises, costumes and staged presentations, which are now seen as part and parcel of her work on an equal footing with her paintings.

Leonor Fini was born in Buenos Aires in 1908 and died in Aubervilliers in 1996. She was a painter, engraver, lithographer, theatrical set designer and writer. She lived in the Hôtel de Marle, now home to the Institut suédois, for three decades from the 1930s to the 1960s.

In the autumn of 2022, Sara-Vide Ericson came to the Institut suédois to prepare her current exhibition. She was struck by the life and work of this woman, inhabited, as Ericson is, by the art of performance. The painting Between Walls, inspired by a photograph of Léonor Fini, shows a woman wearing a cat mask, as a symbol of transformation or identification with animals and a sisterly tribute.

Art historians Andrea Kollnitz and Sacha Llewellin will be talking about Fini’s life and work, and more especially about the art of self-invention. Andrea Kollnitz, from the University of Stockholm, is preparing a book titled Becoming Leonor Fini. Theatrical Self-Performances between Art and Life (Bloomsbury), and Sacha Llewellin, who founded RAW (Rediscovering Art by Women), contributed to the exhibition titled Surréalisme au féminin ? at the Musée de Montmartre in 2022.

What prompts us to wear costumes is the need to enter a different space, the need to step out of ourselves, to look for ourselves, perhaps to find ourselves.” (Leonor Fini)

Useful information

  • In English
  • Admission free while seats last