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Fernell Franco, Cali clair-obscur

He lived in Versailles but without servants or grand fountains. Actually, it was Versalles, the Spanish translation that refers to a town in South Western Colombia. But young Fernell Franco (1942-2006) and his family had to flee the violence and emigrated in the fifties towards the closest large town, Cali. The young man was fascinated by the urban atmosphere and rode his bicycle –as a delivery boy- throughout its streets. He would spend his afternoons at the movies (nourishing his imagination with the Italian neo-Realists) or hanging around the old buildings the real estate boom had condemned to be demolished. Franco became a photographer and spent his life deciphering that universe –a number of architectural signs (patios, decaying walls, forged-iron staircases), social signs (billard clubs and salsa halls, soda bars, brothels). He enlarges his photos until he gets a blurry impression or he enhances the colours. He composes a real symphony to the big city, in a sprit similar to Berlin by Walter Ruttmann. His photographs are shown at the Fondation Cartier until 5 June 2016.

Fernell Franco, Cali clair-obscur, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, éditions Toluca, 2016, 296 p., €40.

Fernell Franco, Cali clair-obscur -

Review published in the newsletter #426 - from 14 April 2016 to 20 April 2016

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