The Freud Museum is delighted to announce the exhibition of a new sculpture, Sleeping Beauty, by internationally renowned contemporary artist Franko B, coinciding with Refugee Week 2017 and our latest exhibition, The Best Possible School: Anna Freud, Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham and the Hietzing School in 1920s Vienna. The Museum will also display pieces from Franko B’s series Still Life, in which the artist documented homelessness on the streets of London between 1999 and 2002. The photographs reflect upon the lives of the most vulnerable in our society and reference Franko B’s personal biography.
Sleeping Beauty is a sculpture of a deceased refugee child, presumed to be from Syria, hand carved in marble using traditional methods in the style of Baroque sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Like Bernini, Franko B’s practice is engaged with an aesthetic dialogue between the sacred and profane. However, in Franko B’s latest sculpture, the sacred is found in the figure of the child rendered eternally in marble and the profane within ourselves, our leaders, our states and institutions – crystallised in our collective failure to address the worst human crisis since the Second World War.
The practice of mass consumption and appropriation of imagery is key in Franko B’s art. It reflects upon the saturation of our cultures with images, a phenomenon that has only intensified in the age of the Internet. The action of stitching and painting these works on canvas, or in this case carving in marble is a deliberate attempt to bring the ephemera of our culture into carefully considered physical form. In these gestures of permanence, Franko B has made an impossibility of mindless deletion, of forgetting and of censorship.
Franko B (b. Milan 1960) is a contemporary artist whose practice spans drawing, installation, performance and sculpture. Over the years he has built up a diverse and sizable body of work and has gained international acclaim for his contribution to contemporary art.
Franko B Lives and works in London and is Professor of Sculpture at l’Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino, Italy, he is also a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London and Northampton University. He has presented work internationally at; Tate Modern; ICA (London); South London Gallery; Arnolfini (Bristol); Palais des Beaux Artes (Brussels); Beaconsfiled (London); Bluecoat Museum (Liverpool); Tate Liverpool; RuArts Foundation (Moscow); Victoria and Albert Museum (London); Freud Museum (London); PAC (Milan); Contemporary Art Centre (Copenhagen) and many more. His works are in the collections of the Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, South London Gallery, the permanent collection of the City of Milan and a/political, London.
The source image for Sleeping Beauty was taken by Syrian artist Khaled Barakeh and was shared on social media in August 2015, before being removed by moderators for a content violation.