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A frequent visitor to the Blu Cammello workshop in Livorno, he was first discovered by the artist Riccardo Bargellini. The hybrid sculptures he produces are composed of assembled objects whose links are prominent. Observed through the prism of their transitional, fetishistic or apotropaic value, they have been presented in several major exhibitions such as the monograph dedicated to him at the MAD Museum in Liège, Banditi dell’arte (Halle Saint Pierre) and art brut, abcd/Bruno Decharme collection (Maison rouge) in Paris. “These works are invested with a symbolic power that many “professional” artists are unable to achieve.” (P. Dagen, Le Monde)

portrait de franco bellucci - © bargellini, christian berst — art brut
Date 1945 —
Country Italy

The youngest of three children, Franco Bellucci was born in Livorno (Italy) in 1945. A severe brain lesion delays his psychological development and deprives him of the ability to speak. As a teenager, he shows compulsively destructive behavior towards the objects around him. This aggressiveness is never directed towards others or towards himself.

On February 15, 1961, during the total solar eclipse that darkened the northern Italian sky, in the throes of a seizure, he throws his television out the window. After a time in hospital in Livorno, where he destroys a large part of the hospital’s furniture, the doctors commit him to the Volterra psychiatric hospital. He will spend most of the day tied to his bed. Feared for his extraordinary strength, he is especially known for breaking window panes, tearing off radiators and taps, which causes him serious hand injuries.

In 1978, after the entry into force of Law 180 providing for the closing down and dismantling of all psychiatric hospitals, his family welcoms him back. His first move, after so many years of absence, is to rush to his room to open the drawer where he kept his toys. They’re all there.
Diagnosed as an “irrecoverable asylum residue”, he returned to the Volterra psychiatric hospital, no longer attached but still confined, until 1998. The following year, he is welcomed by Dr. Ivanna Bianco and her team at the Franco Basaglia “open doors” center in Livorno where the Blu Cammello workshop has just been created under the direction of Riccardo Bargellini.

In this residence where respect for the individual is the foundation of therapeutic care, Franco wanders freely. Bargellini is particularly interested in this feared man in the hospital structure. He discovers that Franco walks in a pendular rhythm, always holding small objects tied together in his large hands: underwear attached to plastic containers taken from housekeepers, pieces of water hoses collected from gardeners’ equipment, socks stolen from roommates, etc. Later on, Bargellini discovers that every weekend, after visiting his brother, Franco comes back with a gift, very often an extension cord, sometimes stuffed animals. These objects immediately become materials for new assemblies that replace the previous ones.

Exploring the buildings as well as the park around the center on a daily basis in order to collect objects scattered by Franco right up to the rooftops, Bargellini succeeds in establishing contact. He finally gains his confidence by providing him with various objects and materials through the back door: it’ s the beginning of a game and a story.

In recent years, the strength of the invisible ties between these two men has allowed Franco to break away from the hospital’s coercive ties by replacing them with a new relational network. Together, they continue to maintain an effective and privileged environment allowing the “master binder” to live and develop his work. His work was included, in 2013, in the group show Banditi dell’Arte at the Halle Saint Pierre, in Paris, and presented in a solo exhibition at the MADmusée de Liège in 2014-2015, while a wall was dedicated to him at the same time at the Maison rouge in Paris, during the exhibition Art brut, collection abcd/Bruno Decharme.

Artworks
Please contact us to inquire about the available works.
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2007
9.45 x 7.09 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2013
10.24 x 3.94 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2010
11.02 x 7.87 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2011
9.06 x 6.3 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2006
14.96 x 9.45 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2010
10.24 x 5.51 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2010
18.5 x 7.09 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2010
9.45 x 14.17 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 2010
7.87 x 12.2 in
Exhibitions
Fiac
#47, Grand Palais. From October 21 to 25, 2020.
À deux
by Gustavo Giacosa, galerie Zola, Aix-en-Provence. From January 17 to March 7, 2020.
Histories of violence
a dialogue between the works of the treger saint silvestre collection, Núcleo de arte da oliva, Portugal. From April 14, 2018 to February 28, 2019.
Aesthetics of Rage
Aponia Centre d'art contemporain, Villiers sur Marne. From November 4 to 26, 2017.
The House
by Gustavo Giacosa, galerie Zola, Aix-en-Provence. From September 30 to December 30, 2017.
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in abstracto
at the gallery. From June 8 to July 15, 2017.
Art Brut
A Story of Individual Mythologies , Treger Saint Silvestre Collection, Portugal . From January 1 to February 26, 2017.
Session #2 
Volumes, at the Backslash Gallery. From June 9 to 18, 2016.
CHOICES Collectors Weekend
Collectors Weekend, Palais de Tokyo, Paris. From May 21 to 22, 2016.
Choices
Collectors Week-end, Paris. From May 21 to 22, 2016.
YIA
art fair, Espace Louise 186, Bruxelles. From April 21 to 24, 2016.
On The Wire
by Jean-Hubert Martin, at the gallery. From April 9 to May 22, 2016.
Franco Bellucci
As Beautiful As…, at the gallery. From October 17 to November 28, 2015.
Art brut live
DOX centre for contemporary art, Praha. From March 27 to August 17, 2015.
Art brut
ABCD Collection / Bruno Decharme, la Maison rouge, Paris. From October 17, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
Franco Bellucci
M.A.D. Musée, Liège. From September 13, 2014 to February 15, 2015.
Inurbementis
Museo di Storia Naturale del Mediterraneo, Livorno. From April 6 to June 14, 2014.
poétique d’un espace utopique
Contemporart Ospitale d'Arte, Genova. From February 12 to March 28, 2014.
Brewed in Belgium
the collection of M.A.D. musée, Intuit, Chicago. From January 17 to April 26, 2014.
Au compte-goutte
M.A.D. Musée, Liège. From February 23 to May 11, 2013.
Banditi dell’arte
La Halle Saint Pierre, Paris. From March 23, 2012 to January 6, 2013.
Gravures de la collection du M.A.D. Musée
Grand Curtius, Liège. From March 5 to June 26, 2011.
Exhibition view of *Franco Bellucci : beau comme...*, christian berst art brut, Paris, 2015 - © ©christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
Exhibition view of *Historias de la violencia*, curator : Gustavo Giacosa, Oliva Creative Factory, Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal, 2018. - © Oliva Creative Factory, christian berst — art brut
Exhibition view of *Franco Bellucci : beau comme...*, christian berst art brut, Paris, 2015 - © ©christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
Press review
les outsiders sortent du ghetto
Armelle Malvoisin, Beaux Arts. September 27, 2018.
Choices, le bon choix?!
Marie Maertens, Connaissances Des Arts. May 20, 2016.
Choices, le bon choix
M. M., Connaissance Des Arts. May 3, 2016.
Franco Bellucci : Fortuitous or constructed ?
Claire Margat, Art Press. January 5, 2016.
Bellucci, l’irrécupérable de l’art brut
Philippe Godin, Libération - La Diagonale De L’art. November 10, 2015.
View more
Franco Bellucci
Philippe Dagen, Le Monde. November 9, 2015.
christian berst art brut, one of Caroline Tresca’s favorite places
Didier Césaire, Pariscope. November 4, 2015.
Franco Bellucci : beau comme…
Bénédicte Philippe, Télérama Sortir. November 3, 2015.
Collections
Piet Meyer collection
Switzerland
abcd / Bruno Decharme collection
France
Treger Saint Silvestre collection
Portugal
Antoine Frérot collection
France
Amr Shaker collection
Switzerland
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Trinkhall museum
Belgium
Franco Bellucci

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