Mandy Franca (b. 1989, Rotterdam) is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in both London and Amsterdam. Franca investigates the influence of the digital realm on contemporary artefacts, identity, and the influence of migration. The notion of rootlessness is at the centre of her work. Its relevance will only grow in the future and with her work she wants to bring that complexity to attention.
Mandy’s understanding of the world is formed by being brought up in Rotterdam, a multicultural environment, when the desktop computer was making its way into households. Growing up with people from different cultural backgrounds, and having a multi- national identity from both the Netherlands and Curaçao, herself, have had a significant influence on her practice.
The most important points of thematic focus in Mandy’s practice are the circulation of images both online and off line, contemporary language forms, interconnectedness, and the desire to slow the experience of time in order to better preserve important moments and places in memory. In her work she maps out what social and personal artefacts can be in a time when the internet plays an important part in people’s lives. Mandy is interested in the way these new artefacts arise and the digital materiality that is linked to them. Artefacts are a representation of identity and culture, a reflection of our time, and are bound to a location. But what about an individual’s own virtual archive of photographs or objects created in a digital space? With the advent of the digital age, and contemporary practices of tourism, and migration, everything seems to become increasingly 'fluid', even the disembodied online self. Identities become fragmented and therefore also the form of how contemporary artefacts arise.
Her work is an ongoing investigation into interpersonal relationships, drawing from life experiences and her personal archive. Mandy incorporates these subjects into works on paper, photography, drawing, collage, video, audio, print, sculpture and textile, creating a juxtaposition between surfaces and the image.
The smartphone and its use are important in her practice as both tool and subject. For her large works on paper, she layers oil pastels and soft pastels onto large format, archival prints of iPhone photographs. This layering is to show the complex history, experiences, time, and memories that make up the present as a marker of the simultaneous. With this technique Mandy wants to challenge ideas of digital materiality, painting, drawing, and the reproductive image, creating different visual experiences for the viewer when seeing the work on screen, or in a physical space.
Mandy has a Degree in Media Design from the Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2009). She completed her BA in Fashion at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016), and an MA in Print at the Royal College of Art in London, UK.
2018 - 2020: Master of Arts | Fine Art: Print | Royal College of Art, London, UK
2015 : Minor | Digital Crafts | Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, NL
2011 - 2016: Bachelor of Arts | Fashion | Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, NL
2009 - 2010: Bachelor of Arts | Fashion & Textile | Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL
2005 - 2009: Vocational Education | Media Design | Graphic Lyceum, Rotterdam, NL
2020: External Degree Show | Group Exhibition | Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery , London, UK (Forthcoming)
2020: Hot Sheet | Group Exhibition | Downstairs at The Department Store, London, UK (Forthcoming)
2020: In Touch | Virtual Group Show | Danielle Arnaud Gallery | London, UK
2020: Final, Not Over: Session 3 | Group Exhibition | Unit 1 Gallery Workshop | London, UK
2020: A gainst the Grain | Group Exhibition | Southwark Park Galleries, London, UK
2019: 20:20 Insight | Group Exhibition | Soho Revue Gallery, London, UK
2019: Group Exhibition Print | Hockney Gallery, London, UK
2019: Work-in-Progress Show | Royal College of Art, London, UK
2014: Group Exhibition WDKA | Margreeth Olsthoorn, Rotterdam, NL
2012 - 2013: Blue Jeans | Group Exhibition | Central Museum, Utrecht, NL
2020: Curator | External RCA Show | Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery | London, UK (Forthcoming)
WORK HISTORY AND SELECTED RELATED EXPERIENCE
2019: Guest speaker | Kingston University | London, UK
2016: Graphic Design Assistant | ZOO Magazine, Amsterdam, NL
2014 - 2016: Design Assistant | Jeroen Koolhaas for Favela Painting Project, Rotterdam, NL
2014: Internship | Ann Demeulemeester, Antwerp, BE
GRANTS, HONORS AND AWARDS
2020: Schuurman Schimmel-van Outeren Stichting
2019: Distinction | Dissertation: This is Not a Journal, These are Random Thoughts Organised Neatly | Royal College of Art, London, UK
2019: Koningin Sophiafonds
2019: Fundatie van de Vrijvrouwe van Renswoude
2018: Koningin Sophiafonds
2018: Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
2018: Fundatie van de Vrijvrouwe van Renswoude
2018: Hendrik Muller's Vaderlandsch Fonds
2018: Stichting Bekker-la Bastide-Fonds
Through objects we can extend our thoughts, knowledge and body.
Current technology like the smartphone creates an opportunity for us to extend ourselves across the globe in space and time. I can be present in different places at different times simultaneously, being disembodied. In that way, we, but also our traditions, language and digital representations of objects, are in a constant flux traveling to different places. Through contemporary technology like video calling and text messaging, traditions, language, and objects can exist in multiple places at the same time.
I can be present in Amsterdam and Curaçao at the same time by video calling my father at 18:00 in Amsterdam, while where he lives it’s 12:00 in the afternoon. I find comfort in connecting with family and seeing ‘my other home’ on a different continent. Sky, water, and trees present on different continents connecting us across the globe. The building blocks of life are viewable either through the help of the internet or out of my own window.
My priority is to bring the individual experience into a broader communal context and show the connections between mutual objects, experiences, place, and time, with the notion of care and comfort being a fundamental aspect of being.
The degree work presented consists in various forms. The first is a video correspondence between my father and me, combined with a reading of my own text. The second is a series of works on paper produced by drawing with pastels onto large format archival photographs. These photographs were taken during an airplane journey to Curaçao, on the island itself and in my current residence in the Netherlands. Finally, I present a Google Docs correspondence with writer/curator, Delany Boutkan, on social artefacts, digital intimacy and collectivity, 'disembodied' forms of togetherness online, and the notion of touching someone without touching in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath.