Anna Franceschini

Nothing is more mysterious. A fact that is well explained, 2010, 16mm film transferred onto DVD, in colour, silent, 11’ 45’’
Untitled (Almost Lost), 2010, Super8 film transferred onto DVD, in colour, silent, 49” in loop

The film catches fire; the image dissolves in the sun at the very instant that a mysterious black fluid issues forth from the Earth’s viscera and greets the atmosphere. There is something magical, alchemical in Anna Franceschini’s new project. An obsession with the very nature of film, with returning it to the light of day, rescuing it from darkness. If only for a few seconds, before it fades. Filming represents an alchemical encounter in a hidden place, between Heaven and Earth. A platform in the north seas where a miracle rises up from the depths. Blue turns to black. Petroleum appears, then disappears, dazzled by sunlight. This is the next place the artist has chosen to pause, dwell and assuage her curiosity. Her past projects include an indoor sports stadium, a retirement home for musicians and a mannequin factory. In her work, human presence has been dwindling – disappearing entirely in The player may not change his position, filmed in an amusement park whose empty rides were set in motion just to be filmed by the artist. Who, in Cairo (Untitled - Almost lost, 2010) took some time to gaze at a starry sky imprinted on a sunburnt canvas, flapping on the doorway to a mosque and its dark interior.

More recently, Franceschini became enamored of a little Pianola Museum in Amsterdam and of a taxidermist’s macabre workshop. The former is the setting for a meditation on seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting, with its attention to detail and to domestic interiors. The latter is reminiscent of a zoetrope, of the wheel of life, the nineteenth-century device that produced an illusion of animation from static images, drawn or painted. The magic lantern is another type of mechanism. In Nothing is more mysterious. A fact that is well explained, the artist sets herself rules and restrictions: in just two takes and at a fixed height, she fully embraces the two rooms that make up the Pianola Museum – only to reveal at the very end, in utter silence, the metal cylinder on which a melody is engraved, one composed for the occasion and meant to represent the opening measures of an ideal soundtrack. Her most recent works bespeak, alongside an analysis of the places concerned, clear metalinguistic concerns, i.e., the desire to analyze the language of cinema. At any rate, I like to think of Anna Franceschini’s films as the Major Arcana in movement.

Milovan Farronato

Born 1979, Pavia.
She lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Solo shows

2011: SCREENING ROOM: ANNA FRANCESCHINI - Kiosk Gallery, Ghent, Belgium
2010: RIJKSAKADEMIE OPEN STUDIO, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Group shows

2010: videoREPORT ITALIA 2008-09, Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Monfalcone, Italy
Cairo Video Festival, Goethe Institut ///Townhouse, Cairo, Egypt
2009: Don’t Look Now - Non voltarti adesso, Ca’ Pesaro, Venice, Italy

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