As Beautiful As…
Franco Bellucci, born in Livorno (Italy) in 1945, began creating objects at the end of the 1970s, thus channeling his destructive inclinations and reconciling them – through the frequent use of toys – with the state of immaturity that the onset of encephalitis had restricted him to at a very young age. Deprived of speech, he then began to tirelessly produce, through hybridization, objects that at times seem transitional, at times like fetishes.
If, in Franco Bellucci’s work, the idea of reconstruction – or even that of fixing, so dear Kada Attia – imposes itself in the first place, it cannot suffice once we are familiar with how he made his works. Indeed, how could we not be taken by Bellucci’s immutable ritual, holding the objects that he ties, twists, kneads, bruises and recomposes against his stomach.
If we consider for a moment that the stomach is understood in certain Oriental and Greek philosophies to be the seat of the soul or, at the very least, of the epithumia – desire – we see the amount of vital, primordial energy that could animate these creations. If, in addition, this operation is devoid of all discourse, of all words, but is done at the rhythm of a guttural scansion, of the hoarse breath of Bellucci, one cannot help but draw a parallel with certain shamanistic rituals.
Contrary to Judith Scott, a spider-like weaver of cocoons intended to hide objects, or Pascal Tassini, exploring the proliferating possibilities of knots, Franco Belluci reveals, sublimes, and resuscitates. By creating chimera, he metaphorizes his battle against fragmentation all the while giving his objects an absolute power of recreation. “As beautiful as the unexpected encounter, on a dissection table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella” (Count of Lautréamont, The Songs of Maldoror).
His work was included, in 2013, in Banditi dell’arte in the Halle Saint Pierre, in Paris, and then was presented in a solo exhibition at the M.A.D. of Liège in 2014-2015, while a wall was dedicated to him at the same time in the Maison rouge in Paris, during the art brut abcd/Bruno Decharme collection exhibition.
This is now – curated by Gustavo Giacosa – his first exhibition in a gallery.
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)
Preface : Gustavo Giacosa
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Franco Bellucci : as beautiful as…#2, from april 9th to june 13th, 2021.