Franko B Archive
Franko B is a visual artist, curator and teacher. Born in Milan in 1960 but UK-based, Franko B rose to prominence in the 1990s due to his extraordinary body-based performances that often involved blood-letting, performing at the ICA, London, throughout the UK and internationally. Creating work across performance, video, photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media for over 30 years, Franko B continues to earn international acclaim for his artistic practice. He is currently Professor of Sculpture at l'Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino.
In Spring 2018, the Theatre Collection was awarded funding by the Wellcome Trust to catalogue, conserve and make accessible the Franko B archive. The project, Challenging Archives, culminated in a public exhibition and symposium in 2020, together with an exhibition catalogue.
We worked closely with Franko B throughout the project, who provided contextual information to ensure the catalogue of his archive is accurate and rich in detail. A full catalogue for the archive can be viewed here: FB- Franko B Archive. (Clicking on the underlined Ref No will begin to open up the directory, or 'hierarchy' of the archive catalogue.)
As part of Challenging Archives, writers-in-residence, Maddy Costa and Mary Paterson reflected on and responded creatively to challenges presented by the collection as it went through the archival process, contributing blog posts on the Theatre Collection Blog and a small publication to mark the end of the project.
What the collection holds
The archive contains more than 30 years of material relating to Franko’s performances, exhibitions, screenings, visual art, collaborations and his work as a curator, lecturer and mentor. This includes video and audio recordings, photographic stills, publicity material, published material, interview transcripts, contractual agreements, correspondence and personal ephemera. The collection also contains approximately 40 objects that featured in Franko’s performances or installations, including several items and garments fashioned from the remains of bloodied canvas from performances.
All items, including digitised copies of the videos in the collection, are available to view on site at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection.
For further information on Franko B and his work, please visit Franko's website (WARNING: please be aware that Franko's site contains material which some people may consider challenging, including material concerning blood-related works and material of a sexual nature). A further collection, which includes more of Franko's artwork, is also held at Bishopsgate Institute.