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Title Ontem
Title Translation Yesterday
Collection University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art
Artist Siron Franco
Creator Country Brazil
Donor Martin Green
Creator Date Of Birth 1947
Date Completion 1993
Date Creation 1990
Id Number Current Accession 111
Measurements 90 x 80 cm

Ontem, like Memória, belongs to a body of abstract works that Siron produced from the late 1980s to the early 90s. In a monograph on the artist, Dawn Ades has observed that these works appear to be the result of 'spontaneous and undirected processes' and Siron has in fact produced videos of himself working in this way: painting very quickly, totally absorbed in the process and constantly transforming the canvas. Although apparently random in execution, these paintings are often preceded by a long process of thinking, sketching and planning within which Siron draws inspiration from sources such as newspaper articles and television reports as well as personal experiences. Thus, as Ades describes it, Siron's creative process involves 'cannibalizing images of all kinds' and producing works that are always an 'active and critical response' to these stimuli. Siron sometimes cannibalizes his own work by returning to and reworking paintings. Started in 1990 and finished in 1993, Ontem is an example of this process.

Joanne Harwood


Dawn Ades. Siron Franco: Figures and Likenesses, Paintings 1968-1995, Rio de Janeiro, Editora Index, 1995


Painter, sculptor, inter-media artist

Siron Franco is one of Brazil's foremost painters; he has also created sculpture, public monuments and installations and has worked in design and film. He was born Gessiron Alves Franco in 1947 in Goiás Velho, the old capital of the state of Goiás in Brazil's Centre West region. In 1950 he moved with his family to the new state capital, Goiânia, a place whose inhabitants, events and surrounding forests have exerted an important influence on Siron's work. Although largely self-taught, in 1960 Siron Franco studied art informally at the Open Air Studio in Goiânia under the supervision of two local painters. Franco held his first exhibition in 1967 and his reputation began to grow after winning the Acquisition Prize at the Bahia Bienal in 1968. In 1973, following several individual exhibitions, Franco won the First Global Spring Salon (Brasilia) Travel Prize: six months in Mexico, where he was to meet José Luis Cuevas. In 1974 Franco enjoyed his first overseas exhibition in Japan. During this time Franco was becoming increasingly established in Brazil, winning several major prizes. In 1975 he was awarded the 24th Rio de Janeiro Salon of Modern Art Travel Prize. This was the nation's most prestigious honour and meant a two-year bursary in any country. Franco based himself in Madrid for that period, although he used the opportunity to travel within Europe and North Africa. Human psychology and the often-destructive relationship between the human and the natural worlds were early interests, and continue to inform his work. He responds rapidly to social and environmental issues through painting and installation. Another passion is the fate of Brazil's indigenous population. Siron's grandfather was a Brazilian Indian and Siron has created several works that aim to highlight the creativity as much as the marginalisation of Brazil's aboriginal inhabitants. In 1992 the Brazilian Indigenous Community commissioned Siron to make a Monument to the Indigenous Nations in Brasilia, Brazil's capital. In São Paulo, a city Siron has frequented since the late 1960s, Bernardo Cid and Walter Levy were early influences. Siron has also acknowledged Bosch and Breughel as inspirations for his work. Siron Franco lives in Brazil, where his reputation and success has grown considerably over recent years. He currently divides his time between studios in Goiânia and Salvador.

Joanne Harwood

Rights University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art
Work Type Painting



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