CHHS Research Seminar: Exploring the Franko B Archives

Following a ‘Research Resources’ award from Wellcome, the Theatre Collection has been working on a project for the past 18 months to catalogue, conserve and make publicly accessible the archive of artist, curator and teacher, Franko B.  Franko B’s practice explores the limits of the body, touching on pain, suffering and sexuality in contemporary culture.  He rose to prominence in the 1990s due to his extraordinary body-based performances at the ICA in London that often involved blood-letting.  Creating work across performance, video, photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media for the last 30 years, Franko’s experiences of suffering, neglect, homelessness and marginalisation as an adolescent, and then as a young gay man and punk living in London during the AIDS epidemic, deeply influenced and intertwined with his practice.  Archivists Jo Elsworth, Julian Warren, Sian Williams, who are working on the project, introduced the Franko B archive and there was an opportunity to handle items from the collection.

Attendees were made aware that Franko’s archive contains material which some people may consider challenging, including images depicting blood-letting and sexually explicit images.

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