Franko B & Fidia Falaschetti / genius-online exclusive

Whenever a fresh, dynamic gallery emerges on to the Italian scene and then proposes an original exhibition program, it signifies a healthy input of confidence, experimentation and adventure. MedioArea Gallery is a brand new, large-scale space in the middle of the industrial zone on the southern outskirts of Terni. It is directed by gallery-owner and collector Mimmo Parente, who has previously run spaces in Sorrento and Benevento. Established inside factory space with white walls, concrete floors and industrial ducting, the new gallery is hard to find in its anonymous setting, but this is also part of its exclusive, unconventional charm. The third exhibition at MedioArea Gallery is a double solo-show curated by Lorenzo Respi, highlighting recent works by Franko B (born in Milano, 1960) and Fidia Falaschetti (born in Loreto, 1977).

Living in London for the past 30 years, since 1995 Franko B has held dozens of solo shows and has staged hard-edged performances primarily in Italy and the UK, but also in Austria, Belgium, Russia, Slovenia and Switzerland. Franko B’s work often mixes the mediums of painting and sculpture, with performance and body-art. At MedioArea Gallery, the viewer is greeted by a grand wall of raw jute canvases in different sizes, installed as a giant mosaic. Each of the brown, un-primed canvases depicts the figure of an infant, hunched and withdrawn. Several of the huddled figures are shoved up into the top left corner of the canvases, increasing the sense of isolation. The outlines of the naked forms have been stitched into the bare canvas, using woollen thread of different colours. An identical figure reappears as a reduced silhouette, with many of the normal anatomical details and features removed. No face, no toes, but revealing a strong sense of abandonment, tragedy and trauma.

Depicting a similar sensation of imminent violence and the lost innocence of childhood, Fidia Falaschetti has incised the black outlines of common items from childhood into laminated sheets of steel. Each of his images features a red stain, as though the works have been punched and bruised. Falaschetti betrays the playful games and toys of infancy. With a veneer of irony and danger, he creates new hybrids – a gun merged with a baby’s bottle, a rocking-horse etched with anatomical cut-lines as though drawn by a butcher, a bandaged teddy-bear, a rubber-duck with its breast sewn together as if it is recovering from open-heart surgery. His polished silver sculpture of an apple re-designed as a hand-grenade refers back to the poisoned apple in the fairy tale of Snow White, offered as a booby-trap by the evil queen. Falaschetti’s previous work as a graphic designer is evident in his use of strong symbolism and crisp, illustrative outlines. In a nod to the puns of Bruce Nauman, installed above Falaschetti’s metallic panels, a neon sign flashes the words STEEL ART / STEAL ART. This is a dual reference to the precarious steel industry which was once the heart of the city of Terni, and to the idea of appropriating and superimposing imagery.

In a separate space in the gallery, Falaschetti’s installation “L’estate e’ sfinita (Summer is over)” consists of a monochrome painting of the head of a startled baby, and on the floor, a pile of semi-inflated, plastic pool toys. Plastic sharks and crocodiles are rendered harmless as floating, summer play-things. However, in a projection behind them, the video of a school of circling hammer-head sharks gives the installation an ominous, mesmerising and dangerous edge.

According to curator Lorenzo Respi: “As the representatives of future generations, children are the first victims in today’s era of degeneration, at a time of cultural and social crisis, even before we look at the current financial-economic problems. We find ourselves as part of a system which speculates on the dreams and the hopes of children, but which annihilates their expectations and re-orientates their choices. Those men and women who are supposed to guarantee the foundation of communal progress are the same people who are guilty of the hidden acts of violence. Conversely, they behave with cynicism and egotism, ignorance and superficiality, rudeness and intolerance. Although Franko B and Fidia Falaschetti avoid these personal attitudes themselves, they strongly express their feelings about social discomfort, transforming them into the languages of art.”

Like Falaschetti’s razor-sharp commentary, Franko B’s work continues to explore contradictions and the thrill of the unexpected. The artist himself, with his gold-capped teeth, aggressive tattoos and body piercings, purposely sets out to hide his true nature behind a provocative façade. During the opening of the show in Terni on November 9, Franko B stood in a booth specially built in the corner of MedioArea Gallery, and played a deejay-set of heavy beats. It was his own post-punk welcome to the Umbrian experience.

This reflects the changing parameters of art practice today. The current double solo in Terni is the third chapter in a series of exhibitions titled Storie d’Arte e Vita (Stories of Art and Life), devised by curator Lorenzo Respi. Each double solo show in this cycle includes a single work created together by the two participating artists, as a way to formulate a new collection for the gallery. This is a smart method to document the hands-on reality of contemporary collaboration. The two previous shows have featured the combined works of Perino & Vele / Marco Nero and Silvia Camporesi / Filippo La Vaccara. The final double solo of works will be by Simone Racheli / David Fagioli, and will open un Terni on January 18, 2014.

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Versione in lingua italiana (Tratto dal comunicato stampa della mostra)

Si apre il terzo capitolo del ciclo “Storie d’arte e vita” composto da quattro doppie personali che si succederanno in MedioArea Gallery a Terni fino a febbraio 2014. Dopo il successo delle due mostre precedenti, dal 9 novembre al 21 dicembre 2013 gli artisti Franko B e Fidia Falaschetti sono i protagonisti della doppia personale, “Fuck-simile” a cura di Lorenzo Respi.

 Ci hanno rubato il futuro, la realtà che stiamo vivendo è solo la copia in negativo di una prospettiva di crescita che purtroppo ci è stata negata. L’oggi è il “fac-simile” del tempo che avremmo voluto vivere. La speranza è stata tradita, la crescita si è fermata. Fuck! Da questa esclamazione volgare – forse meno volgare dell’inciviltà che ci circonda – nasce il gioco di parole per assonanza “Fuck-simile”, un insulto diretto al nostro tempo ormai degenerato, a una crisi culturale e sociale ancora prima che economico-finanziaria.

I bambini, le generazioni future, sono le prime vittime di questo sistema che specula sui loro sogni e sulle loro speranze annientandone le aspettative o addirittura orientandone le scelte. I colpevoli di questa violenza occulta sono le stesse persone – uomini e donne – che invece dovrebbero garantirgli le basi per un progresso comune. Invece agiscono con cinismo ed egoismo, ignoranza e superficialità, maleducazione e intolleranza.

Franko B e Fidia Flaschetti avvertono questo disagio interiore e lo esprimono con forza trasformandolo nel linguaggio dell’arte. Franko B realizza una serie di tele in juta ricamate con l’immagine, ripetuta ossessivamente, di un bambino accasciato, che nasconde la testa e si stringe su se stesso, come per difendersi da una violenza invisibile. Fidia Falaschetti lavora sull’infanzia tradita, trasformando con pungente sarcasmo le immagini di giocattoli rassicuranti in oggetti pericolosi su lamine di acciaio: proprio su quell’acciaio che si produce a Terni, un tempo fonte di benessere, oggi causa e simbolo di crisi e di precariato.

Lorenzo Respi

MedioArea Gallery
Via Mincio 25, 05100 Terni
(zona industriale Flaminia)

Mob. +39 338 287 57 61

OPENING HOURS – Tuesday-Friday, 11.00-19.00 or by apppointment
ORARI: Martedì – Venerdì, 11.00-19.00, festivi e prefestivi su appuntamento