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Theatre Collection The Franko B Archive

Franko B
"I'm essentially a painter who also works in performance. I come from a visual art background and not "live art" or theatre, and this is very important to me as it informs the way my work is read. In the last 20 years or so I have developed ways of working to suit my need at that particular time, in terms of strategy and context, by using, installation, sculpture, video and sound."
Franko B, 2008

Franko B was born in Milan and has lived in London since 1979. He has been creating work across video, photography, performance, painting, installation, sculpture and mixed media since 1990.

Franko has performed at the Tate Modern, ICA, South London Gallery and Beaconsfield, and has presented work internationally in Zagreb, Mexico City, Milan, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Madrid and Vienna, Tate Liverpool and most recently at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium and the Crawford municipal gallery in Cork, Ireland. Franko B lectures widely, including at St. Martins School of Art, DasArt, New York University and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

He has been the subject of two monographs, 'Franko B' (Black Dog Publishing 1998) and 'Oh Lover Boy' (2001) and has published a photographic project entitled 'Still Life' (2003).

In 2007, 'Blinded by Love' was published, as a monographic publication on the work of Franko B. The book documents Franko Bís practical research into the politics of performance, covering over 15 years of artistic activity. The works in the volume span from paintings and objects, characterized by the recurring triptych Man-Heart-Cross, to the documentation concerning live performances in which the artistís flesh and blood become a canvas for the representation of vulnerability, pain and loss.

Franko B is supported by the BOW ARTS TRUST (

Franko B, 'Mama I can't sing', 1995. Photo: Manuel Vason
Franko B,'Oh Lover Boy' book cover, 2001. Cover photo: Manuel Vason
Franko B, 'I Miss You', 2000. Photo: Manuel Vason
Franko B, 'Aktion 398', 1998. Photo: Manuel Vason
Franko B, 'Blinded by Love' book cover, 2007

What's in the Archive?
The archive covers the last 20 years of Frankoís work, and includes material in a wide variety of formats related to his performances, screenings, exhibitions, collaborations, mentoring, books and visual art.

View the list of items in the Franko B Archive (coming soon)
Franko B with his archive, Toynbee Studios, 2008
DIY Bleeding Kit. Photo: Manuel Vason Franko B wearing garments produced from performance residue, 'I Miss You', 2000. Photo: Manuel Vason Franko B, flag from 'They Shoot Children don't They?, 2006. Franko B, 'Mama I can't sing', 1995. Photo: Manuel Vason
There are posters and photographs of Franko and his work, and also a number of items made from the cloth Franko has bled onto during his performances, including several garments. Other artefacts include the number counter machine, the bleeding kit, two kilner jars of syringes and other objects associated with bleeding, and the fabric representing the British and American flags with blood splatters from 'They Shoot Children Donít They' (2006) Ė a piece relating to the Iraq war.

Franko will continue to add to the archive as his performance works develop in coming years. He has recently decided to discontinue bleeding in performance, and is pursuing other challenging creative strategies, including painting.

In 'Don't Leave Me This Way', his latest performance work in progress, Franko B's body is presented naked and unpainted, seated on a raised plinth or altar. The audience is allowed time to look at his body, to approach it as a sculptural form. 'Don't Leave Me This Way' will continue his practical research into the politics of performance, in new and unexpected ways.
Franko B wearing garments produced from performance residue, 'I Miss You', 2000. Photo: Manuel Vason Franko B, objects. Photo: Manuel Vason Franko B, 'Oh Lover Boy', 2001. Photo: Manuel Vason

For access to the Franko B Archive, please contact Bex Carrington, Keeper: Live Art Archives on 0117 33 15186, or email:

Franko B website

For further information on Franko B and his work, please visit Franko's website.
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