Franko B Installation

Franko B Installation | 2010

I have a feeling I was involved in this project, not just because I am an architect, but more likely because of my past experiences as an altar boy. The work of Franko B needs to be interpreted as a liturgy whilst trying to highlight the particular rituals. I have worked on the architecture of the building as he himself would have done on his own body by modifying the points of entry and exit and changing the perception through spatial constrictions. I believe that the PAC is an extremely difficult space to work with. Its limits have often been hidden; from the ticket office which is right next to the first main exhibition room so as to cancel any element of surprise, to the position of the entrance which creates a kind of cul de sac on one side without making clear the path to follow.

This aspect led me to completely abandon the first room as an exhibition space and keep it in the dark. I then created the only entrance to the second room through an opening in the wall in the form of a Greek cross. The perimeters of the third exhibition room have been reduced and compressed in height in order to obtain an alienating effect of backlighting.The fourth room has been redesigned with the precise geometry of a bourgeois drawing room, this precedes the last exhibition space that has been transformed into a temple; totally black in which one can breath an almost religious atmosphere.

The glass front that lights up the whole space of the PAC with the park at the back has been covered with a transparent red film that filters the light according to a precise chromatic scale. The same tone of red is used for the carpet that leads to the raised floor where one can admire the new sewings with red thread on white cloth.

The white of the walls and floors, the black of many of the works and some of the exhibition spaces, the red of the glass and the carpet have become the chromatic code of a new space. It will be difficult to recognise the PAC as we know it. If we agree that all art has been contemporary, the sensation of discomfort that one  can experience in front of the art of Franko B is the same that was experienced by the contemporaries of the great classical masters that we now define as masterpieces of the past. In this sense Franko B can be considered a classical artist with the difference that he has swapped the paintbrush for his own body and the liquids that his body contains.

The classicism of Franko B is relevant to our times: from Abu Ghraib to Mashad, from the child soldier to the black tide of the Gulf of Mexico. His work can at first cause difficulties for the spectator, but if you keep your eyes open you can see beyond the apparent crudity of the images and catch a glimpse of a form of definitive, conclusive and final love. His performances carry with them a sense of celebration that becomes contagious at a sensory level. Franko B confronts the sense of shame as an enemy to defeat and uses himself as a sacrificial lamb to free us from inbred fears. Each of his canvases is a sindone and each of his works communicates a sense of religious intimacy.

This idea of redemption through suffering for the common good seems to me a theme very close to my memories as an altar boy… Franko, but who is your father?



Fabio Novembre