Artist Statement

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Art to me is a balance of unanswerable questions and pointless fun. From its origins as cave paintings to what ever it is now, I've always found interest in what is important or valued. My work asks you to look, touch and feel material in a way you've never seen before. In recent making I have had to deal with the difficulty of the pandemic and questioned why I bothered to make sculpture at all. But it has shown me that in moments like these it is so important to think differently and trust your senses. The world will never be the same but my questions are : what do we value? what do we add? what do we take away? I believe this in life, in sculpture and in cultural tradition.

The Objectus is Objectus exhibition started with two passions: sport and art. It articulated all my idea’s on interaction and pushed the question 'what the plinths role could be'. This placed me on the path of exploring skills as a way to break down social barriers to reveal the essence of who we are behind the face we show the world. There is a quote by Plato that reads ”You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. For me this emphasises the value of “play” as tool to understanding ones capabilities and limitations. I find “play” in the majority of adults an extremely rare commodity. I like to make environments where the viewer is encouraged to interact and engage with the work practically. I ask my audience to respond physically and through their actions invoke others. 

 

Vito Acconci called himself “A situation maker a art doer, not a artist”  

 

 The ‘Mischief or Life Skill series’ started by the thought of teaching skills to a prehistoric person in todays world and what pointless skills could help them survive. I wanted to investigate interaction as a way of breaking the boredom barrier of “this is an art work don't touch it” by giving an aim. Without specifically  instructing the viewer and with no rules simply to try. The means of achieving the goal was to be set by the viewer. The series is performative as participants play and viewers watch. The work questions the role of  the audience and the entertainers. Artist Ralph Roosen said afterwards  “maybe that is the metaphor, we do all these pointless tasks in life but what’s the point,” I think seeing raw instincts appear in people you around you? Whilst feeling your own boundaries being physically pushed, reveals character you didn't know existed is key to what I am trying to achieve. My practice wants you to feel something real.

 

The artist Carsten Holler had a influence on me saying “People are more powerful than artworks in a way, Holler” The works of Brancusi, Moore and Botero had an influence on my work because of their relationship to scale, permanence in public spaces.  More recently Isamu Noguchi, Aldo Van Eyck and Giuseppe Pennone have drawn my attention being founders of the idea of 'playgrounds'.

Currently I'm developing a body of work using the local coral stone of Barbados, It is the national stone and it has given me great pleasure experimenting with its possibilities.

 

Hopefully this will give you a flavour of what I do and which themes are embedded in my practice.

 

    GianPiero Franchi