Siron Franco (1947 - )

História mal contada (1991)
Suspicious Story

Oil on canvas
height: 160cm
width: 199cm

On loan from Michael and Simone Naify


Franco often bases his paintings on real life events; he collects fragments, images and stories from newspapers, from the television and his personal observations and transforms them into a distinctive pictorial language. In Portuguese 'uma história mal contada' is a set phrase, meaning 'a suspicious story'. But 'mal' can also be 'bad' or 'ill'. As well as being suspicious then, the story might be badly told, or indeed suspicious because it is ill told. The idea of a story ill told is echoed in the fragmentation and dispersal of parts throughout the grid. Jonathan Clarkson's discussion of this work relates Franco's disintegrating grid to the disintegration of rational orders into chaotic systems, and set meanings into chains of signification: 'Because of the grid individual elements begin to distinguish themselves from one another, and as they are distinguished they begin to form connections. The eye picks out faces, numbers, shapes and colours. But signification is not secure. A set of marks which looks like a bicycle in one context looks like a face in another, like a number in a third and so on. The grid itself gets mixed up in this process. It is not ideal. It is not the pure instrument of science and rationality. It is irregular, stretched in some places, squeezed in others. It wavers, it fails to contain, and it peters out. Its ability to order experience is transient and just as subject to change as the events it attempts to fix.'

Jonathan Clarkson, 'uma história mal contada' Cuerpos Redes Voces Tránsitos. ESCALA and Casa de América, 1999.

Joanne Harwood, 2008

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