Art Now is a programme of exhibitions whose aim is to promote discussion and awareness of new art in Britain. Matt Franks is one of a new generation of British sculptors whose work is made from mass-produced industrial plastics and everyday throw-away materials, and includes a wide range of references to high art and popular culture. Franks hand carves large blocks of Styrofoam and sands them down over many hours to produce smoothly finished surfaces for his bizarre and humorous forms. As a result, the ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary.
In his new work transcendent plastic infinite, Franks inverts traditional floor-based sculpture by placing it on the ceiling. In doing so he parodies the key moment in British sculpture of the 1960s when Anthony Caro rejected the use of the plinth, and placed his sculptures directly on the floor. At the same time Franks’ installation refers to work by more distant figures in art history, including the great Italian Baroque sculptor Bernini. Seemingly opposite elements are fused: Baroque excess and theatricality are set against modernist purity. Franks also alludes to the imagery of cartoons such as The Brothers Grunt. The humour of these cartoon motifs undercuts the serious ideals of Modernism, comprehensively sending it up.
Matt Franks was born in Yorkshire in 1970, and graduated from the MA Fine Art course at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, in 2000. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at asprey jacques, London (2002); Tailsliding, European touring exhibition organised by the British Council (2001-2); These Epic Islands, Vilma Gold Gallery, London (2000); and London Orphan Asylum, touring exhibition to South East Asia and Australia organised by the British Council (2000-1). Matt Franks lives and works in London.
The exhibition is curated by Tim Batchelor, Curator, Tate Britain.