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Artwork material

mixed media

Artwork dimensions

height: 180.0cm
width: 191.0cm

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Accession method

Donated by Charles Cosac 1993

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Memória is ESCALA's first donation. Given to the University by Charles Cosac in 1993, it is displayed permanently in the ESCALA Gallery in the Silberrad Student Centre, Colchester Campus. Memória is representative of a stylistic shift in Franco's painting: from figurative canvases to more abstract, painterly works. In Memória, the thick layers of silver paint and smudged patch of fur echo the concerns of two earlier series: Peles (1990), and Goiânia: 57th Street (1987). Peles, meaning skins or furs, is in part a critique of Brazil's trade in furs from ocelots and other forest cats and mammals, many of which are found in the dense forests near to Franco's studio, outside of Goiânia; Goiânia: 57th Street is based on an accident with radioactive Cesium-137 that took place in Goiânia in 1987. The accident was caused by the illegal dumping of this highly toxic substance in a rubbish tip in the city's Bairro Popular, the lower middle-class neighbourhood where Franco grew up. Attracted by its phosphorescent glow, many residents who handled the Cesium died or were badly mutilated and the accident caused lasting problems of contamination in the city. In his paintings, and with installations such as Radiografia Brasileira, Franco is often responding swiftly and directly to incidents like this: as a means to draw attention to them and thus to commit them to wider memory.
Joanne Harwood

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