Franko B I'm Thinking of You

I’m Thinking of You
Galleria Changing Role, Napoli
curated by Eugenio Viola

In the 90’s Franko B made a name for himself as an icon artist of the progressive return to bodily themes. A body intended as a theatre of eroticism and destruction. Fear, violence, alienation, and perversion are the elements characterizing his radical actions, often glancing behind the limits of the representation. The artist stages an hagiography of suffering, sets up his Passion, his laic martyrdom through the ostension of his naked body exhibited, tortured, celebrated, outraged, mortified, cut, bleeding, glorified, Lived. A deconsecrated Ecce Homo, whose body inscribes traumas, pain and suffering of the social body, an hypertext which resets any boundary between the artwork and its creator, subject and object, art and life.

Nowadays, the artist’s body is replaced by its residual traces, which celebrate his absence and disseminate in the space of the work reverting it back to a diaphragm, symbol and meaning of his space dazzled reality. A long introspective path suspended between destruction and creation opens to a great eclecticism, crossing multiple languages. Everything gets reabsorbed by the monochrome absoluteness: from the use of corporal fluids in the performances to the gold of the backbenches in Gold Benches, to the black of the Black Paintings and of the sculpturesque Love in the Times of Pain. Scattered traces of memory, emblems of an absence, a private diary where objects, animals, things are covered by a deposited thick cover of black paint. A sombre gloss returning an oppressive and perturbing atmosphere, suspended between tangible and visible, oneiric and dreadful. A complex, captivating, archaic imagery, in places almost ancestral, conceptually unifies the whole variegated Franko B’s production. Moving with agility on the thin line of contrasts: despicable and sublime, noble and popular, holy and profane, transcendence and desire, sovereignty and loss, licit and illicit, memory and remembrance, the artist generates a series of short circuits which catch you unprepared and give back the controversial realty of the present, its shadow.

Franko B’s visionary and oppressive sensibility taps into the great iconographic tradition of the memento mori and into spirituality of horror that characterizes the deadly, counter-reformed Baroque. The equilibrium of the composition of his work sends, however, back to a more classical, formal ideal, returns to the brutality of our times, but, at the same time, expresses a existential breath, recalls the tenderness of human heart, which unravels all his being in the world.
I Miss You, Long Live Romance, Don’t Leave Me This Way, these are the titles of some Franko B’s performances. Actions that, beyond the pictorial nature of the aesthetic impact, opens to a romantic meditation, to the desire investigated through different tones: separation, solitude, fear of being abandoned, submission…A work ultimately presenting itself as an enormous, unconditioned act of love: I’m thinking of you.

Eugenio Viola

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