John Franzen was born a single child in Germany and grew up in Belgium.  His childhood was marked by the constant changes of residence which resulted in lack of social connections.  The feeling of isolation led  to a withdrawal into his creative inner world. An intensive education at the Robert Schumann Technical Institute in eastern Belgium, with  20 hours of drawing classes per week, was the first step towards the future professional career. It was followed by a two-years-interlude, during which Franzen worked close to nature as a woodcutter and creative nature-pedagogue for children. In 2003 he continued the artistic education by entering the Art Academy in Maastricht. He concluded his education in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Currently Franzen is an independent artist working in Maastricht. Despite its universal character, his work is rooted in the private experience and results from deep self-reflectivity, conscious seclusion and devotion to art.

EXHIBITIONS
2021

Positions Art Fair – Schlieder Contemporary – Berlin

Cosmoscow – Booroom Gallery – Moskau RUS

Schlieder Contemporary – Frankfurt

Drawing Now Art Fair Galerie Podgorny Robinson – S. Paul de Vence FR

2020

Schlieder Contemporary – Frankfurt

Yoko Uhoda Gallery – Lüttich BE

Booroom Gallery – Moskau RUS

Cosmoscow – Booroom Gallery – Moskau RUS

Galerie Podgorny Robinson – S. Paul de Vence FR

2019

Saatchi Gallery Drawing Fair – London GB

Ora Ora Gallery – Hong Kong

Yoko Uhoda Gallery – Knokke BE

Galerie Art Engert – Eschweiler

Galerie Podgorny Robinson – S. Paul de Vence FR

2018

ART PARIS – Paris FR

Yoko Uhoda – Knokke BE

Parkview Gallery – Hong Kong

ART SHENZEN – Parkview Gallery

ART STAGE JAKKARTA – Parkview Gallery

2017

Yoko Uhoda Gallery – Knokke BE

Schlieder Contemporary – Frankfurt

Galerie Podgorny Robinson – S. Paul de Vence FR

Parkview Gallery – Hong Kong HK

2016

Gallery Yoko Uhoda – Lüttich BE

Galerie Podgorny Robinson – S. Paul de Vence  FR

London Art Fair – London GB

Art Central – Hong Kong

First Price Art Dubai Sculpture Award – UAE

2015

Morgen Contemporary – Berlin DE

Oneiro – Paris FR

Arusha Gallery – Edinburgh GB

Art & Antiques fair – Hertogenbosch NL

Gallery Dixit Algorizmi – Berlin DE

Parkview Gallery – Hong Kong HK

Gallery Yoko Uhoda – Lüttich BE

Gallery Annette Müller – Düsseldorf DE

2014

Künstlerhaus Dortmund – Dortmund DE

Medi Art – Luxemburg LUX

AAA Auction – Amsterdam NL

Shortlisted THFMF – London GB

International Artist Award – Dubai UAE

Havoc – Amsterdam NL

2013

Scope 13 – Maastricht NL

Galerie Freitag 18.30 – Aachen DE

Gallery Morgen Contemporary – Berlin DE

2012

Salon/1 – Maastricht NL

Depot Basel – Basel CH

Ostrale Dresden – Dresden DE

De Glazen Kast – Rekem BE

 

Sammlungen:

Foundation Maeght – Saint Paul de Vence & Paris FR

Prince of Monaco Museum – Monaco MCO

 

 

STATEMENT

John Franzen’s life experiences have constructed a world in itself, where several themes arise as essential for both his life and his art. Franzen compares himself to a scientist, a shaman, and a priest; his role and responsibility as an artist is to investigate the governing principles of the universe. In this process, he mainly focuses on the nature of darkness, nothingness, destruction, and creation. The objective of Franzen’s research is to build a cosmology, a coherent interpretation of the mechanisms of the universe.

In order to do so, Franzen experiments with different artistic methods. He begins with the use of paper and the colour white to explore what he considers the ‘beginning’. Next is the investigation of the line using ink, graphite or blood. The creation of the line is the method that formats the blueprint of the universe. The essence of this project is One Line, a single stroke, a mere movement, that aims to embody the essence of all creation. Each further act is merely a repetition of the first one. The analysis of the line and nothingness have led Franzen to transform the act of drawing into a process of meditation, a conversation between the medium and the artist. This connection transforms the visual value of his artistic project into both a performance act and a personal ritual, that serves to answer both Franzen’s inner questions, as well as his cosmological inquiries.

A further essential element of Franzen’s philosophical anthropology is the narcissistic perception of all human beings. This theme, together with the importance of destruction and deconstruction, takes his performative act to a different level with his latest project. This project consists of the use of big reflective titanium panels, which he damages using various instruments. Franzen aims to destroy in order to heal both his and the observer’s spirit. He aims to ‘destroy’ the observer’s narcissistic reflection on the metal sheet. Franzen considers that the viewers, as well as the art market, are nothing more than the center of their own space and time. Every piece Franzen creates always involves both a methodological experimentation and a ritual. The former can help him to create the cosmology while the later can heal his soul.