Franko B (b. 1960, Milan) is an honorary member of the International Perfomance Group (IPG).
Franko B’s work targets the most universal spheres of tension between absence and presence, life and death. For Franko, his body is a canvas on which he strives to depict pain, love, hatred, power and the beauty of suffering. He investigates human beings’ dubious attraction to pain, encouraging the spectator to be more open-minded.
He began his artistic career in London in 1979 and later received his art education in the Camberwell School of Arts and in Chelsea School of Arts, 1987–1990. Franko B won broad public recognition in 2003 after demonstrating his performance ‘I miss you’ in the Tate Gallery. He works in diverse media: performance, painting, video, photo, installation, sculpture, music.
Franko B’s artistic signature is body art with blood as a medium. In his famous performance ‘I miss you’ the artist strolls down a catwalk, reminiscent of a fashion show, but he is fully naked and covered with white paint. From the veins of the artist drip two carefully controlled yet shocking streams of blood, leaving traces on the snow white catwalk. The spectators, forced to watch the happening from a distance, perceive the event as something unreal; it creates the impression for them that it is not the body itself that is being presented, but a symbol.
Black acrylic paintings serve as a counterpoint to the white and red color scheme of his performances. These are monochrome, single-object, black-on-black monumental canvases painted by the artist with his palms in the impasto technique. The images depicted are particularly meaningful to the artist, and Franko returns again and again to the same three archetypes which are also tattooed on his body – a man, a heart, and a cross. The male figure is depicted en face, deprived of individual features and reflecting the sexual sentiments of the artist. The heart is depicted in the classical shape of the love heart. An equilateral cross, symbolic of the Red Cross, evokes associations with Franko’s childhood which he spent in a Red Cross orphanage. The black color of the canvases is sometimes interpreted as nostalgia for the beloved, attractive, but fragile and elusive world of the depicted items.
Sculpture represents a new line of Franko B's work, and here he presents seven original sculptures of black acrylic to visitors. Additionally the exhibition includes a videoproject by the artist entitled ‘Fresco Bosco, speaking about his work.’