Andrea Francolino (Bari,1979) is one of the four founders of The Open Box, a non-profit space for contemporary art in Milan, where he lives and works. In 2013 the work Et onne Tempo earned him the San Fedele Prize 2013/2014. This installation, an ephemeral and fragile work, made with concrete powder, reproduces the map of the biggest shopping mall in the world. The work encourages the viewer to reflect upon the aggravation of contemporary mass consumption and human vanitas.
The relationship between human being/product and nature/creation is the bedrock of Performance di una pianta (2013-2015), a heap of rubble composed of fragments of works destroyed and set aside from which a plant sprouts spontaneously: it’s Nature reaffirming itself and giving new life to what is inert and abandoned.
Commencing from 2015 Francolino dedicates his practice to Percorsi, a series of crack casts made of concrete powder imprinted on paper. Every work has a title that reports the day, hour and satellite coordinates of the place where the work is made and offers the chance to localize his artistic action in space and time. The crack symbolises human fragility, humanity’s creation and culture, and also their deterioration. The dichotomy between absence and presence, void and full is evident in the work 7 inversi2 (2018), consisting of 7 framed sheets of paper previously ripped down the middle. The chromatic contrast of sections reflects the heterogeneity of materials: soil and concrete. These two elements blend in the central, uniform and rip-free panel, which becomes now the harmonious meeting place of two elements of opposing nature. The reflection upon contemporary society factors (consumerism, materialism, ecologism) put in relation to the human condition, led the artist to realize in 2018 at the MAAM, Museo delle Arti Applicate nel Mobile contemporaneo, Villa Dionisi Cere, the artistic intervention Econcrethic. The title comes from the crasis of the three words ecology, concrete (with the double meaning of the noun and the adjective) and ethic, key elements of reflections carried on during the previous years. The creation of these site-specific works in different locations, such as suburban, derelict areas or new realities, is sensitive to the relationship between Nature and urban landscape. Through the Land Art practice of “Crack Garden”, which involves the ground being cut, the work is visible from a satellite view.
In 2018 his research on cracks continued: the crack becomes the main feature of his work. On a wall of the Spazio Aperto San Fedele, Milan, the artist covered a fissure with 22-carat gold leaf, making the matter shine and the void seemingly to tremble. As Francolino declares, “as an objective expression of an ongoing process, the crack suggests – and sometimes reveals – the connection between the opposites, and generates an infinite reflection and contemplation”. This statement is the starting point of the production of the most recent works that propose again the artistic method of Percorsi, utilising its endless possibilities.
Some of the artist’s major solo shows include Intra materia Natura infinita, Milan, Spazio Aperto San Fedele, 2018 and Caso x Caos x Infinite Variabili, The Open Box, Milan,2018. His works belong to influential collections such as Alain Servais, Brussels; VAF Stiftung – VAF Foundation, Frankfurt; Fondazione Culturale San Fedele, Milan.