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The Crack Magazine

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Franko B

A less promising start for an artist would be hard to imagine but Franko B, who spurns his abusive stepfather’s surname, made it from an Italian orphanage to the turbine hall of Tate Modern.

That was in 2003 with I Miss You, a startling performance art take on the world of fashion in which the artist, naked and caked in white paint, strolled along a catwalk with blood dripping from his arms.

There have been many others around the world since then and on Friday, July 2, at 7pm Franko B will premiere his latest performance in Newcastle.

I’m Here is billed as a retrospective in which filmed reminders of his 30-year output are to be projected onto his body.

Due to Covid, the performance will be live streamed from the Urban Science Building of Newcastle University, co-hosting the event with Globe Gallery with whom Franko B has a long association.

The university’s Dr Gareth Longstaff has been working with the Globe on its In Here We Meet series of gallery conversations.

Prior to that, on Thursday, July 1 at 6pm, you can join Franko B in conversation with Prof Gavin Butt, of Northumbria University, via computer link-up.

An exhibition of work by the artist is running at Globe Gallery, on the seventh floor of Commercial Union House on Pilgrim Street, until July 10.

The principal and most poignant attraction is The Lost Boys featuring a long line of 267 ceramic figures, beautifully coloured but each flawed in some distinct way.

They are a homage, says the artist, to the many boys he encountered in the Italian orphanage and later in a Red Cross institution and who are now “lost in the world”, fates unknown.

For £90 you can ‘adopt’ a boy, belatedly providing him with a loving home.

The exhibition marks a return to the very start of his artistic career when Franko B, a gay and rootless punk on the streets of London, accompanied a friend to a pottery evening class.

For details of the free exhibition and live streamed events go to www.globegallery.org

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