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Level 7

Commercial Union House
Pilgrim Street, Newcastle
NE1 6QE

Franko B

Things That Make Me Cry

Photo © Colin Davison

15 June- 3 July, 2021
Open: Tuesday- Saturday, 11:30- 17:30

Floor 7, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street

There are men who are too fragile to shatter. I also belong to these” – Ludwig Wittgenstein* 

 “Things that Make me Cry” showcases Franko B’s ‘Lost Boys’ – a series of individually hand-crafted, ceramic figures and sculptures both fragile and powerful in their significance and symbolism.

The exhibition draws from Franko B’s childhood in Milan and experiences he encountered when he was taken into care. This early stage of his life left such an imprint on Franko that it has become an integral part of his identity and a prevalent theme within his work:

 “It’s who I am. It’s part of my identity, more than anything else.”  

Each one of the ‘Lost Boys’ is a homage to the hundreds of boys Franko encountered when, as a child, he was estranged from his family, and moved between various children’s homes in Italy. The exhibition becomes the container of the boys institutionalised experiences of trauma and rejection as well as their individual hopes and dreams.

The boys are presented in a straight line and in this way, Franko provides them with a level playing field. The installation is one of beauty, colour, accessibility and playfulness, but as the exhibition unfolds, the ceramic figures and the sculptures they surround, begin to unveil strong nuances and imperfections. It is not only the number of ceramic figures on the wall, but also Franko’s sculptures throughout the space that narrate this story. These works seem to have been hit by an earthquake which captures each individual boy’s lost childhood and its memories of sadness, abandonment and fear.

The varying torment inflicted on the ceramic figures is indicative of the degrees to which the boys might be perceived as “broken” and suffering from emotional or physical trauma. The marks upon the figures represent the ambivalence of being saved and yet harmed institutionally. We recognize these imperfections and their brokenness as traces of the past and evocations of the future that are empowering and beautiful.

Franko Bs ‘Lost Boys’ have found homes around the world and this exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to purchase and take home their own Lost Boy. The act of choosing from the hundreds that adorn the walls will help us to reflect upon the decisions we make, the things we are drawn to, and most poignantly the things that makes us cry.

All artworks will be available from the show at the exclusive price of £90 each and will be accompanied with Adoption Papers by a way of a certificate of authenticity.

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