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Una impecable soledad, la fotografía de Fernell Franco

ffranco

Fernell Franco
Museo National de Colombia
February 2011– April 2011

Co-curated by José Falconi (Curator at the Art Forum Program at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University) and Ángela Gomez (Researcher and curator of the collections of photography at the National Museum of Colombia), An Impeccable Solitude is the first critical reassessment of the legacy and archive of Fernell Franco after his untimely death in early 2006. This show marks the culmination of a five-year project by the Rockefeller Center to conserve, catalog, and digitize Franco’s entire archive, a process that resulted in the revelation of new facets of Franco’s work, which was always centered around his fundamental preoccupation: the depiction of decadence and the continuous cycle of construction and destruction of the city of Cali. The exhibition presents, from the Fernell Franco Foundation, one hundred never-before-seen works that place Franco at the forefront of experimentation in the medium in the last part of the twentieth century. It also includes an award-winning 1976 photograph from the Museum´s collection.

By emphasizing the narrative techniques that the artist devised and deployed throughout his four-decade career, this exhibition presents Franco as one of the most innovative and experimental photographers at a critical moment in the history of photography, one that transcended the paradigm of photography as a mere document and the photographer as mere documentarian. While most of his contemporaries across Latin America were still working within the old framework, Franco was experimenting with and pushing the limits of photography, developing the ways in which we define its practice today.

More info (Spanish) 

Selected Reviews: El tiempo

INSTALLATION VIEWS

Gaceta magazine article “Impeccable Fernell” (May 11, 2017)

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“However, the exhibition that the National Museum will open reveals a Fernell Franco that brought photography beyond its documental nature, converting it into a work of art. And that is the conclusion of José Falconi’s curatorship of the show, curator of the program for emerging artists at the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, and Ángela Gómez, an Art History Curator at the National Museum of Colombia.”

“In José Falconi’s opinion, this show, with images of a Cali of walls and destroyed spaces, points to Fernell’s most radical side. ‘That is where his splendor as an artist resides and where his best work is found,’ he said from Boston, in dialogue with GACETA.

“In Falconi’s words, ‘Franco has an obsession with giving his work a temporality to the point of almost making them instantaneous, in order to show the effects of time on a photograph. One of the ways of making the passage of time evident was what Fernell Franco called live photography, that consisted of not putting fixer on the image, making it deteriorate. It would go as far as physically breaking the photo,’ says Falconi.

 

Gaceta magazine article “Impeccable Fernell” (May 11, 2017)

Such characteristics gave these pieces the character of art objects. ‘While in the decade of the 1970s, the photography movement was involved with its documental character, Franco was already delving into spaces that brought him closer to the language of engraving, painting, drawing, or sculpture. It was a change in the medium of expression,’ the expert says.”

“Franco was awarded the prize in May of 2005, even though the contest was aimed at young, unknown talent. The prize consisted of carrying out an exhibition in Boston. José Falconi was designated as the curator of the show.

But when the curator was preparing to come to Cali, Fernell passed away. ‘That changed the entire perspective of the work. I found that Franco had left a vast amount of works, the majority of which were unknown, and they made up a very rich archive: a treasure for Colombia and for Latin America. Consequently, it seemed irresponsible to me to curate this work, while leaving some of it to deteriorate. Nor was it ethically appropriate to curate without knowing the totality of the works the photographer had completed, and this was only possible through an organized archive,’ Falconi remembers.”

 

‘There is no photographer like Fernell Franco in Colombia. He opened paths that are only now being explored. It is important that people know we are dealing with a world-class photographer.’
– José Falconi

“There are 117 images that show the creative processes that were behind a Fernell Franco photograph. ‘Appreciating these images directly is very different than seeing them printed in a catalog, because they pose a challenge when they are viewed, the feeling, they possess irregular contours and they are mediated by it,’ adds the curator.

In spite of these approaches, the work of Fernell Franco has not been valued in all its splendor, neither in his region nor in the country, and it is just being discovered in a global context. ‘I think there is no photographer like Fernell in Colombia; I don’t mean to say that he is better than other great photographers in the country, but he does need to be situated among other artists like Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Leo Matiz, and the great exhibitors from Cuba, Argentina, or Mexico from the 70’s. 

Ricardo Moncada Esquivel

Una impecable soledad, la fotografía de Fernell Franco

Fernell Franco
Museo National de Colombia
February 2011– April 2011.

The Ministry of Culture through the National Museum of Colombia and the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, with the collaboration of the Fernell Franco Foundation, presents Una Impecable Soledad. La Fotografía de Fernell Franco. The exhibition recovers the experiments and the searches that Franco made throughout his career around the photographic surface – until now – an unknown face of the work of the Cali photographer. The selection of works intend to show Franco’s search to capture the image of the city, in a constant creation, which led him to propose a work in the limit of the photographic itself. The exhibition also culminates a stage of the preservation and classification work that the Fernell Franco Foundation did of its archive, with the support of Harvard University.

More info 

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Una impecable soledad, la fotografía de Fernell Franco

Fernell Franco
Museo National de Colombia
February 2011– April 2011.

The Ministry of Culture through the National Museum of Colombia and the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, with the collaboration of the Fernell Franco Foundation, presents Una Impecable Soledad. La Fotografía de Fernell Franco. The exhibition recovers the experiments and the searches that Franco made throughout his career around the photographic surface – until now – an unknown face of the work of the Cali photographer. The selection of works intend to show Franco’s search to capture the image of the city, in a constant creation, which led him to propose a work in the limit of the photographic itself. The exhibition also culminates a stage of the preservation and classification work that the Fernell Franco Foundation did of its archive, with the support of Harvard University.

More info