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francesco arena

biography

Francesco Arena was born in Mesagne, Brindisi, in 1978. He lives and works in Cassano delle Murge, Bari. 

If one tried to compress a large part of Francesco Arena's work into a formula, this could be as follow: numbers that take on form.
From a linguistic point of view his work can be read as a development, a personal “derivation” of sculptural processes that arise from the geometric shapes typical of Minimal art and from the more archetypal ones of Arte Povera. But from a thematic point of view his pieces are often the translation of formulae and numbers linked to private and personal facts. 

The Arena’s research moves along two tracks: that of collective history, chiefly national, and that of personal history. These form a sort of two lines that touch, overlap, cross each other. In his performances, installations and sculptures, the narrative creates the objects. They can be everyday objects such as diaries, cigars, living room furniture, or made out off traditional sculptural materials, such as marble, slate, bronze.
Arena always imposes at the beginning a rule to be followed, a fact that remains a fixed point in the piece’s production process: the weight of a boat used by illegal immigrants reaching the coast of Lampedusa, the distance travelled by the anarchist Pinelli in his last day as a free man in Milan, the volume of a crater made by a bomb explosion. These are starting points that determine the form, the dimensions and at times even the materials of the piece: “Facts are a wilderness where different views confront and oppose each other; facts interest me as units of measurement around which to build a sculpture… a weight, a distance or a surface inform the work and determine its form or dimensions.” he said.
The facts chosen by Arena often come from the reservoir of personal history, but also from collective memory, which was initially focused above all on Italy, but which has now opened up to global situations and events.

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Francesco Arena was born in Mesagne, Brindisi, in 1978. He lives and works in Cassano delle Murge, Bari. 

If one tried to compress a large part of Francesco Arena's work into a formula, this could be as follow: numbers that take on form.
From a linguistic point of view his work can be read as a development, a personal “derivation” of sculptural processes that arise from the geometric shapes typical of Minimal art and from the more archetypal ones of Arte Povera. But from a thematic point of view his pieces are often the translation of formulae and numbers linked to private and personal facts. 

The Arena’s research moves along two tracks: that of collective history, chiefly national, and that of personal history. These form a sort of two lines that touch, overlap, cross each other. In his performances, installations and sculptures, the narrative creates the objects. They can be everyday objects such as diaries, cigars, living room furniture, or made out off traditional sculptural materials, such as marble, slate, bronze.
Arena always imposes at the beginning a rule to be followed, a fact that remains a fixed point in the piece’s production process: the weight of a boat used by illegal immigrants reaching the coast of Lampedusa, the distance travelled by the anarchist Pinelli in his last day as a free man in Milan, the volume of a crater made by a bomb explosion. These are starting points that determine the form, the dimensions and at times even the materials of the piece: “Facts are a wilderness where different views confront and oppose each other; facts interest me as units of measurement around which to build a sculpture… a weight, a distance or a surface inform the work and determine its form or dimensions.” he said.
The facts chosen by Arena often come from the reservoir of personal history, but also from collective memory, which was initially focused above all on Italy, but which has now opened up to global situations and events.

He has taken part in several solo exhibitions such as: Letto, The Open Box, Milan (2019); Orizzonte, Art Unlimited, Art Basel (2017); Francesco Arena. Perimetro con quattro opere in uno spazio, TRA Treviso ricerca arte, Treviso, Italy (2016); Jannis Kounellis – Francesco Arena, Palazzo Baronale, Novoli, Italy (2015); Francesco Arena: Posatoi, Olnick Spanu Art Program, Garrison, USA (2014); Onze mille cent quatre-vingt sept jours, Frac Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France (2013); Trittico 57, Museion, Bolzano, Italy (2012); Com’è piccola Milano, Peep Hole, Milan (2011); Art Statement, Art Basel (2010); Teste, Fondazione Ermanno Casoli, Fabriano, Italy (2010); Cratere, De Vleeshal, Middelburg, Netherlands (2010).

Selected group shows include: The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2020); There will never be a door. You are inside. Works from the Coleção Teixeira de Freitas, Santander Art Gallery, Madrid (2019); The Humans, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2018); Sculpture Projects Ping Yao, Pingyao, Cina (2018); Re-Evolution, MAXXI, Rome (2017); Mario Merz Prize, 2nd Edition, Fondazione Merz, Turin (2017); Par tibi, Roma, nihil, Area archeologica del Palatino, Rome (2016); The 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival, Baijia Lake Museum, Nanjing, Cina (2016); Ennesima, Triennale di Milano, Milan (2015); Ritratto dell’artista da giovane, Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2014); La storia che non ho vissuto. Testimone indiretto, Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2012); Il bel paese dell’arte, GAMEC, Bergamo, Italy (2011); Les sculptures meurent aussi, Kunsthalle Mulhouse, Mulhouse, France (2010); Annisettanta. Il decennio lungo del secolo breve, Triennale di Milano, Milan (2007).

In 2013 he has shown in Vice Versa, Italian Pavilion of 55th Venice Biennale.

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images

Foro con anno, 2020

Stone, diary, aluminium wire

29 × 22 × 23 cm

Letto, 2019

Installation view at The Oper Box, Milan, 2019

Copper and ash

80 × 190 × 50 cm

Photo: Roberto Marossi

Letto, 2019

Copper and ash

80 × 190 × 50 cm

Photo: Roberto Marossi

Ardesia con minuto (rettangolo), 2019

Slate, magnetic tape

81 × 61 cm

Photo: Nicola Morittu

Ardesia con minuto (rettangolo), 2019

Slate, magnetic tape

81 × 61 cm

Photo: Nicola Morittu

Ardesia con minuto (rettangolo), 2019 (detail)

Slate, magnetic tape

81 × 61 cm

Photo: Nicola Morittu

Ardesia con minuto (quadrato), 2019

Slate, magnetic tape

71 × 71 × 2 cm

Angolo quinto, 2019

Bronze

20 × 20 × 20 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Blow Stone, 2018

Fior di pesco marble

152 × 69 × 27 cm

Photo: Nicola Morittu

Blow Stone, 2018

Fior di pesco marble

152 × 69 × 27 cm

Photo: Nicola Morittu

Blow Stone, 2018

Fior di pesco marble

152 × 69 × 27 cm

Photo: Nicola Morittu

Marble between 20 years, 2018

White marble, diaries

16,5 × 16,5 × 21 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Marble between 12 years, 2018

Marble, diaries

16,5 × 16,5 × 21,5 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Cube (La giornata di uno scrutatore) – Italo Calvino, 2020

Book, pink marble

19,5 × 19,5 × 19,5 cm

Cube (La Storia) – Elsa Morante, 2020

Book, black Morocco stone

21,1 × 21,1 × 21,1 cm

Eisenhower between cubes, 2016

Stone, ground, steel wire

204 × 11 × 13 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Roosevelt between cubes, 2016

Bronze, steel wire, wood

10 × 218 × 15 cm

Orizzonte, 2012

steel beam, soil

Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Orizzonte, 2012

steel beam, soil

Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Novantatremiliardi di albe, 2016

Sardinian granite, white bronze, cement, steel

170 x 250 x 350 cm

Novantatremiliardi di albe, 2016 (detail)

Sardinian granite, white bronze, cement, steel

170 x 250 x 350 cm

Installation view of Sette, Uno, Quattro at Galleria Raffaella Cortese, via Stradella 1, Milan, 2015

I giorni (57), 2015

bronze

166,5 x 10 x 10 cm

Photo: Roberto Marossi

I giorni (110), 2015

bronze

166,5 x 10 x 10 cm

Photo: Roberto Marossi

I giorni (210), 2015

bronze

166,5 × 10 × 10 cm

Photo: Roberto Marossi

Autoritratto (omaggio ad Alighiero), 2016

Bronze and incense

166,5 x 32 x 32

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Autoritratto (omaggio ad Alighiero), 2016

Bronze and incense

166,5 x 32 x 32

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Extrême Occident, 2013

Book

166 × 15 × 2,5 cm

Photo: Martin Argyroglo

Extrême Orient, 2017

Book

166 × 15 × 2,5 cm

Photo: Roberto Marossi

Extrême Orient, 2017

Book

166 × 15 × 2,5 cm

Photo: Roberto Marossi

Extrême Occident, 2013

Book

166 × 15 × 2,5 cm

Photo: Martin Argyroglo

Ungaretti, 2009

Found objects

100 × 60 × 30 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Pasolini, 2009

Found objects

170 × 16 × 24 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Divisa mimetica nel vuoto di un'aureola, 2008

Divisa mimetica dell’esercito italiano, aureola in metallo zincato, luci, impianto elettrico

35 × 20 × 35 cm

public exhibitions

Kunstmuseum St. Gallen

St. Gallen

The Humans

15.9.2018 – 17.3.2019

Photo: Sebastian Stadler

Art Unlimited, Art Basel

Basel

Orizzonte, 2012-2017. IPE iron beam, earth

15.6 – 18.6.2017

Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Unlimited, Art Basel

Basel

Orizzonte, 2012-2017. IPE iron beam, earth

15.6 – 18.6.2017

Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Unlimited, Art Basel

Basel

Orizzonte, 2012-2017. IPE iron beam, earth

15.6 – 18.6.2017

Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Fondazione Merz

Turin

Mario Merz Prize. Finalists exhibition | 2nd Edition

8.3 – 21.5.2017

Photo: Renato Ghiazza

Fondazione Merz

Turin

Mario Merz Prize. Finalists exhibition | 2nd Edition

8.3 – 21.5.2017

Photo: Renato Ghiazza

La Triennale di Milano

Milan

Ennesima. An Exhibition of Seven Exhibitions on Italian Art

28.11.2015 – 6.3.2016

Olnick Spanu Art Program

Garrison, NY

Posatoi, 2014

Olnick Spanu Art Program

Garrison, NY

2014

Posatoi, 2014

55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia

Arsenale di Venezia

Venice

Massa sepolta (Burgos, Benedicta, Batajnica 02, Ivan Polije), 2013, Soil, wood, concrete, iron

1.6 – 24.11.2013

Photo: Roberto Marossi

55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia

Arsenale di Venezia

Venice

Massa sepolta (Burgos, Benedicta, Batajnica 02, Ivan Polije), 2013, Soil, wood, concrete, iron

1.6 – 24.11.2013

Photo: Roberto Marossi

FRAC Champagne-Ardenne

Reims, France

Onze mille cent quatre-vingt sept jours

1.2 – 21.4.2013

Photo: Martin Argyroglo

FRAC Champagne-Ardenne

Reims, France

Onze mille cent quatre-vingt sept jours

1.2 – 21.4.2013

Photo: Martin Argyroglo

De Vleeshal

Middelburg

Cratere

18.4 – 13.6.2010

Photo: Leo Van Kampen

De Vleeshal

Middelburg

Cratere

18.4 – 13.6.2010

Photo: Leo Van Kampen

press

I numeri che misurano consapevolezza

Teresa Macrì

Il Manifesto

March 13, 2020

L’arte come narrazione

Elena Bordignon

ATP Diary

March 20, 2019

Atrocity Exhibition: Francesco Arena’s Politics of Imperceptibility

Ara H. Merjian

Frieze

March 8, 2019

In Primo Piano: Francesco Arena

Ginevra Bria

Flash Art Italia

February 20, 2017

Francesco Arena

Fabio Cherstich

Vogue Italia

June 13, 2013

publications

Francesco Arena, 5468 days

Texts by Vincenzo De Bellis and Jacopo Crivelli Visconti

Skira

Milan

2019

Francesco Arena, Six Horizons, Six Roads, Ten Landscapes

Texts by: Mario Fortunato and Andrea Viliani

Cura Books

Rome

2017

Francesco Arena - Perimetro con quattro opere in uno spazio

Pixartprinting

Venice

2016

Francesco Arena – Works 2004/2014

Beccaria, M.; Benedetti, L.; Derieux, F.; Merjian, A.

Cura Books

Rome

2014

Francesco Arena - Posatoi

Francesco Arena

MIA-Magazzino of Italian Art

New York

2014

Masse Sepolte

Franceasco Arena

Cura Books

2013

Francesco Arena

Francesco Arena

Edizioni Èxòrma

Rome

2011

video


Francesco Arena, Masse Sepolte

2013

Construction of Massa Sepolta, a work of Francesco Arena. Created for vice versa, Italian Pavilion at the 55. International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. A video of Domenico Palma