The Easel

Falling in Love with an Empty Man: The Work of José Leonilson

Leonilson died young, suffering not just from AIDS but also loneliness. He had come to prominence in post-dictatorship Brazil by giving his work a uniquely personal tone. Then came an AIDS diagnosis and his work focused even more closely on selfhood. He “frequently framed imagination as fact and fact as imagination, all while maintaining the confessional or diaristic tone of his autobiographical project.”