LONDON.- Frank! is an exhibition of newly produced works by Francesco Pedraglio and in the second part of the show beginning 11 January, a collaboration with eight other artists (Nina Beier, Paul Becker, Alex Cecchetti, David Raymond Conroy, Chosil Kil, Marie Lund, Simon Dybbroe Møller and Robert Frank) directly or indirectly invited by Pedraglio in relation to some of the ideas underpinning the exhibition.
The action or, if you prefer, the exhibition, takes place mostly during daytime
within office hours so to speak
from 12 to 6 or by appointment. Well, obviously its still there at night, when weve all left
out and about
thinking of something else, by ourselves or with someone else. Even then its there. It exists while you are walking out of that space, down the street and straight into your local corner shop to buy yourself some dinner, and it exists while the building superintendent moves slowly through the narrow backyard to shut the front gate and turn the light off in the main stairwell so that you cant get into the building until the morning after. It exists and thats about it
its there! And with this I mean its there even when we dont look at it. Banal? I know
but as Im the first to forget, it might be a good idea to remind you all about it
even if we know that what really matters is somewhere else, right? A world elsewhere. Because indeed what counts here, is that our action or exhibition, well, its actually a person
a real person
we need to imagine it as an individual, a being with all the component parts we would expect a being to have, all the physical and psychological idiosyncrasies that make of him or her who he or she is.
Little confusing maybe
so lets make it all a bit less specific
or a bit more abstract if you prefer, if thats even imaginable. Lets say that our action or exhibition, which, as I have explained, is a person, a character really, well, lets address this he or she as an it. Makes sense, no? It might actually help
might be simpler to tell our story if we dont pick a definite angle yet, letting all our options lie there
Keep it abstract. And anyway its too early to draw any definitive conclusions, to take upon our heads any more responsibilities than we need to. If you prefer, if it makes it easier for you, lets think of the entire situation as a constructed fiction, a planned-out story. Note that this is not really the case: our character is real
or at least as real as you or me or all the objects you see scattered around the room. But if it helps you to imagine it as a 12-to-6-or-by appointment kind of person, an on-stage-off-stage kind of guy, well, feel free... just if it helps
as we all know things are more complex than this, right? At least more convoluted, more elaborated
even after closing time
even when we cant really tell what happens in there, in that space, when were off somewhere else and have managed to forget all about the entire business.
Now lets give it a name. Lets say its called Frank! So Frank!, our action, our show, our character potentially mine or your story well, Frank! is a person like any other person
it just happened to be here, now, existing as an exhibition of some sort
constructed as a series of scenarios re-enacting the psychology of a character. So every object shown or performed has to be considered per se as something existing in and from the world
and, at the same time, as plots proposing possible takes on our character, as proxies for Frank!, cosmogonies for its own fiction.
Consequently Frank! itself could be seen as an abstraction defined by the narratives we project around or onto this agglomeration of objects you see here, now, leaning up against the walls or scattered willy-nilly around the room. Everything in here is a starting point, a tool for re-enactments or simple elements defining our character, standing for, and instead of, Frank! But thats not all we could say about it. Actually we have a major problem in our until now perfectly balanced and delicately nuanced scheme. The fact is
hes dead. Frank!, I mean. He is irrefutably dead, departed
So, for the sake of precision, we cant really state we have an action or an exhibition yet. We cant because we havent got Frank! as such
Frank! as a walking-and-talking person doing things, thinking things. We dont have it as a conscience or a consciousness yet. What we have instead is a constellation of elements building up a corpse, a cadaver, a dead body of some sort like head and torso and arms and legs and fingernails remains we decided to name Frank!... someone or something that, through our interpretation, might become my action, our exhibition, your story
all upsidedown really
from bottom to top and in reverse. What we need is some sort of beginning though
a starting point, a way into the reconstruction of our character.
lets say: the audience enters the space to find the curtains already raised! Lets agree on that. We need some sort of handhold, some sort of pretext. So this is it: you enter the space and the curtains are already raised. What else?
Francesco Pedraglio is an artist, writer and co-founder of the art-space FormContent. Through short stories, performances, videos and installations, his work employs the mechanics of storytelling to reflect on the intricate relationships between the construction of subjectivity and the perception of objects. Writing directly in a foreign language, Pedraglio focuses on narratives facing the problematic of making sense while delivering a story to an audience.
Pedraglio has performed at Transmission Gallery (Glasgow), Kunsthalle Basel (Basel), Hayward Gallery (London), Auto Italia South East (London), The National Portrait Gallery (London), ICA (London), Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridge, England), Galerie Kamm (Berlin), Hollybush Gardens (London), among others. With FormContents exhibition and publishing activity, Pedraglio has curated numerous exhibitions including Session_15 (BolteLang, Zurich), The Responsive Subject (Mu.Zee, Ostend), Through Body and Text (La Galerie, Paris) and The Young People... (GAM, Turin). Pedraglio was Book Works guest-editor with the project Time Machine and just recently published The Object Lessons (Mousse Publishing), a novella in collaboration with Nina Beier and Marie Lund. Pedraglios first collection of short stories A man in a room spray painting a fly (or at least trying to) will be published by Book Works in spring 2013.