Fernell Franco, Cali clair-obscur

@ Franco, Fernell


New product

Bilingual version French / English.

296 pages - Hardcover

Toluca Éditions / Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, 2016

New - Mint condition

Excerpts from the press kit of the Fondation Cartier Exhibition:

"From February 6 to June 5, 2016, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain will present for the first time in Europe a comprehensive retrospective of the work of Fernell Franco, a major yet still under recognized figure of Latin American photography.

A photojournalist by profession, Fernell Franco developed a powerful personal body of work that addressed the precarious and conflicted nature of urban life in Cali, the city where he lived and worked for most of his career.

The exhibition will bring together 140 photographs from 10 different series he produced between 1970 and 1996. It will also reveal the importance of Fernell Franco’s work within a broader cultural context, as part of the vibrant art scene that emerged in Cali at the beginning of the 1970s, marked by a spirit of collaboration amongst a diverse community of artists.


Driven by a search for personal expression, Fernell Franco produced many extraordinary series that documented marginalized communities, urban destruction and transformation and addressed issues such as violence and displacement.

However, his style differs greatly from that of the social documentary photography, predominant in Latin America at the time, where the image must convey a direct message. His visual language is not explicit but suggestive, composed of crumbling ruins (Demoliciones), deserted aquatic landscapes (Pacífico), wrapped parcels (Amarrados), bicycles (Bicicletas), architecture and its spaces (Interiores, Billares, Color Popular). Giving prominence to the expressive quality of his photographs, he plays on the contrast between light and shadow or on accentuating the grain of his prints, sometimes drawing directly on its surface using pencil or airbrush.

"Fernell Franco's works have a cinematographic quality"

Influenced by the chiaroscuro effects of film noir and the aesthetic of Italian Neorealism, which he discovered asa child in the movie theatres of Cali, his works have a cinematographic quality, frequently incorporating elements of narration and time.

Among his most celebrated series presented in the exhibition is Prostitutas (1970), a group of black-andwhite photographs of women and girls working in one of the last brothels of Buenaventura, a declining city that had once been a prosperous port. Deliberately choosing black and white and employing photomontage to create repetition – a process that the photographer relates to filmmaking– he builds a narrative that conveys the reality of the daily lives of the prostitutes while suggesting a feeling of claustrophobia."

This book is the catalogue the exhibition "Fernell Franco, Cali clair-obscur" held at "Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain" in Paris from Feb. 6th to June 5th, 2016.

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