City of Women


Pigment ink, modified acrylic resins, acrylic paint and isoprpyl on linen

260 x 195 cm | 102.3 x 76.7 inches

Pigment ink, modified acrylic resins, isoprpyl, muriatic acid and aluminum on 300grs. cotton paper

220 x 152 cm. | 59.8 x 86.6 inches

City of Women

by Ana María Risco

In Franco’s work we are confronted with a sort of critical re-composition of the original materiality of photography. Neither purely  analogical nor digital, this re-composition, filtered through the photographic film,  takes place on the alternative terrain of painting. Specifically inside the large-scale canvas, a projection of the historical frame, made modern in its most evident field of exploration for the eye and for the gaze.

In successive layers stuck on top of one another, Fragments of edited words, printed photographs and photograms echo the disconnected unpredictability of a black and white visual memory. Here and there across the canvas, the different layers are stuck on roughly, at times they are scraped and torn, betraying the artist’s second attempts, and allowing us to share in Franco’s mediated method of composing - ultra-techno and to a certain extent also automatic.

The fragmented body of the woman and the lost body of the image obtained through the work with light, reference each other in terms of identity, functioning as problematic areas in abstract compositions, eroded by incomplete texts or ruined “fields of color”.  The tragic face of Romy Schneider, the decisive framing of the artist’s mother’s arm on her wedding day, or the clichéd poses from 1960s European erotic films, emerge from between the cracks and scars of the painting as authentic visual events. They do so like the shadow of a visual experience lodged, like a caress or a slap, not in the conscious memory of the contemporary eye but in its skin.

The heavy pictorial effect heightens the visual presence of the old and originally analogous photographs and film stills shown here in fragments, through the emotional tearing that their early exposure to the artist’s gaze left them with. Apart from swallowing each other up here and there on the canvas, these superimposed fragments come together to form a visual riddle. From close-up they take on a three-dimensional thickness (the effect created by the layer of paint that Franco carefully applied underneath the photograph to stick it onto the canvas), or they come apart at the sprocket holes that denounce the unequivocal passage of the image through the well-known processes of printing. And from a distance the fragments sink and melt like actions of painting into the abstract composition which takes on graphic and even constructivist dimensions largely thanks to the metallic ribbons that erupt onto the outer layer, bringing with them old vanguard resonances and isolated textual messages in which there echoes a tribute to the single most significant twentieth century development in visual intelligence: editing.

Exhibition views

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Sala Vespucio

Santiago, Jan. 2017


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